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UK solar PV deployment reaches 5GW

Solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity installed in the United Kingdom has now reached 5 gigawatts (GW), making the UK just the sixth country to hit this landmark figure, according to NPD Solarbuzz.

Of the other five leading solar-PV countries, Germany remains the undisputed leader, with more than 37 GW.

China, Japan, Italy and the United States each have more than 10 GW installed.

The 5 GW of solar PV capacity in the UK can be segmented as follows:

  • 90% of the 5 GW capacity has been installed in the past three years
  • 46% of the capacity is located in the South West and South East regions
  • Small-scale feed-in-tariffs (FITs) have accounted for 42 percent
  • Ground-mounted Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROCs) have incentivized 39%
  • Residential installations represent one-third of the 5 GW capacity
  • Large-scale ground-mounted solar farms, occupying 50 acres or above, have grown in popularity in the past 18 months, and are responsible for 20 percent of the total

At 5 GW, solar PV capacity in the UK can now power nearly 6% of all UK households. The cumulative PV capacity is expected to continue to grow strongly until 31 March 2015, before pending policy changes take effect to slow down the large ground-mounted PV segment.

The UK government is seeking to shift growth to the large rooftop market; however, rooftop solar PV capacity from systems above 250 kilowatts (kW) represents only 3% of the market today. NPD Solarbuzz says it is still lacking clear policy and incentive drivers.

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