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.