UK is world's fastest growing solar market

The UK is the fastest growing country for Photovoltaic (PV) solar installations this year according to a report from analysts at iSuppli.

Over 2009, the UK had just 6 Megawatts (MW) of PV systems. This year it is forecast to increase a massive 1,500 percent to make up 96 MW, dramatically rushing ahead of the crowd including the second spot Spain which will rise by an also impressive 730 percent this year.

By 2014, iSuppli predicts that PV installations will amount to about 500 MW, which is great news for the industry and the environment. Despite the grey weather Brits have to endure but secretly love to complain about, PV installations are proving a hit as Blighty adopted Feed-in-Tariffs.

Feed-in-Tariffs mean people as well as businesses are able to sell the electricity their solar panels have generated back to the national grid. Germany, which currently leads the pack globally in PV, is cutting its Feed-in-Tarrifs (FITs) so businesses are looking to places with the better incentives, like the UK.

FITs were one of the driving factors in bring Germany to the top of the PV chain, and in 2009 alone it had racked up an impressive 3.8 Gigawatts worth of installations. 

The UK though is encouraging smaller self-generation to cut CO2 and renew its energy parket, utilising FIT rates above the market average to encourage adoption. Currently the average residential price for electricity is £0.12 per kilowatt hour (kWh) – a residential PV system of up to 4 Kilowatts can potentially ring in £0.36 for every generated kWh consumed by the owner, or £0.39 for every kWh that goes to the grid.

iSuppli reckons that UK PV installation will reach 214 MW in 2012 and more than double that to 501 MW in 2014, though this is taking into consideration the ramp rates of other countries and also accounting for the UK’s level of insolation and sunlight that it receives. More reasons to curse the rainy weather.