Thursday 6 July 2023

UK adds 73% of solar capacity from households

UK adds 73% of solar capacity from households

Small-scale residential solar panel installations accounted for 73% of the UK's added solar capacity in 2022.

That's according to a report seen by Energy Live News, which suggests UK domestic solar panel installations are growing at their fastest pace since 2016, driven by high energy prices.

The rise in small-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) installations can be attributed to soaring electricity costs and the declining prices of PV panels and batteries.

The growth (73%) of the added solar capacity last year surpassed the five-year average of 43%, the research suggests.

June 2022 marked a milestone as it was the first time since March 2016 that domestic installations accounted for over a quarter (26%) of the UK's solar capacity.

The study conducted by IT services provider and industry consultancy NTT DATA UK&I analysed twelve years of government data and found that household solar panels accounted for 69% of the country's added solar capacity in 2022.

However, experts have warned that the rapid expansion of residential solar panels has put pressure on the UK's grid to undergo a transformation to accommodate the increased demand.

Eduardo Fernandez, Head of Gas, Power and Water at NTT DATA UK&I, said: "Energy microgeneration has graduated from theory to practice: due, in part, to rapidly increasing energy prices.

"Renewed investment in solar installations by homeowners is driving the decentralisation of the energy grid and ramping up the pressure for Distribution System Operators transformation. Our data shows that small installations now make up a quarter of the UK’s national solar capacity, with that figure rising rapidly, which puts pressure on Distribution Network Operators to make drastic changes to their technology stack.

"However, the data shows that homeowners are now paid an average of around 4.9p/kWh to deliver excess electricity back to the grid. Wholesale prices paid by electricity companies are almost ten times this and the current energy cap is nine times the price paid.

"This, along with a limited grid capacity for renewables, often contributes to solar PV owners installing batteries to store excess energy, making energy supply and demand more rigid and inefficient as electricity must be transmitted over greater distances to meet demand."

Written by

Bruna Pinhoni

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