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07 June 2010

Feed-in tariffs deliver bright outlook for UK solar market

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New report predicts UK solar market will grow five-fold this year and deliver 1GW of installed capacity by 2015

The arrival of feed-in tariffs in the UK will trigger a five-fold increase in demand for photovoltaic (PV) solar panels, according to a major new report from consultancy PricewaterhouseCoopers.

The report, titled On the brink of a bright future?, also predicted that the UK could deliver the 1GW of installed solar capacity by 2015, marking a 30-fold increase on its current size. Although the report also noted that it will still take a full decade for the UK to install as much solar capacity as Germany boasts currently.

The UK had just 32MW of solar energy installed at the end of 2009, representing only 0.3 per cent of the total renewable energy in the country. But the nascent sector is now on course for huge growth following the launch of the government's Feed-in Tariff scheme on 1 April.

Under the scheme, businesses and households installing solar PV systems can receive up to 41.3p from their energy supplier for each kilowatt hour of renewable energy produce.

The Solar Trade Association chief executive David Matthews agreed the introduction of feed-in tariffs will drastically shake up the market this year, adding that the projections detailed in the PwC report were achievable. Numerous solar energy firms have reported a huge increase in demand for their technology since feed-in tariffs were introduced and are expecting strong order pipelines to continue throughout this year.

However, Matthews, who also serves as head of the Ground Source Heat Pump Association, warned that the boost to the solar market could have a negative impact on other forms of renewable energy systems.


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