UK hits a record amount of solar installations, paving the way for a strong future in renewables

Roofing and solar expert, Marley, has studied the latest solar photovoltaics deployment data to reveal the adoption of solar and record installations across the UK right now. And it’s great news for the environment; the UK has reached a new milestone in renewable energy, with a record 14.3GW of installed solar capacity at the end of 2022! With a record number of solar installations made in 2022, it paves the way for a strong future for renewables.

Looking at the newly updated figures from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy [1], Marley has analysed the latest full data set from 2022, alongside the last ten years of solar deployment data to understand UK adoption of solar and its growth.

Sam Tebbs, Marley’s project manager for solar systems and training comments on the findings: “Our solar roof tile orders increased significantly in 2022 compared to 2021 sales, and we have trained hundreds of installers to help future proof their business and to meet buyer demand this last year. So we knew it was going to be a record year for the industry, but to see the 4% Y-o-Y increase with 555 MW more installed in 2022 than 2021 [1], really highlights the uptake across the UK. If the same 4% growth is to apply in 2023, this would mean a total installed UK solar capacity of around 15 GW (14.91) by the end of this year!” 

What the UK’s solar capacity looks like

Marley has creatively represented the latest annual figures in a series of data images to convey the extent of UK solar adoption and capacity in a relatable context: https://www.marley.co.uk/blog/solar-adoption-in-2023 

“Since the feed-in-tariff was first introduced in 2010, solar instalment growth rates were exponential until 2016 when they steadied at around 11.8 GW capacity installed. But since then, installation figures [1] have increased by 39.7% from 2016-2022, bringing with it a cumulative solar capacity figure of 14.3 GW of solar to UK homes and commercial properties.

“We wanted to illustrate the volume and potential capacity that renewable energy sources can bring to the UK right now. This is easier to understand the scale in more relatable home or transport figures, such as 130,000+ EVs fully charged, 527 million cups of tea, or 759 trips around the world,” says Tebbs.

14.3 GW of solar capacity across the UK is a record end of year figure, and Marley has illustrated just what that looks like in more relatable terms:

Energy storage will maximise solar output

However, even with this capacity across the UK, Tebbs highlights the loss of power without energy storage solutions: “Without a solar battery though as means to store energy, around half of this energy will go unused and wasted in the home for those who are out during the day because people won’t always be at the house to use it when it’s generated, with the exception of those who work from home. Energy storage solutions are out there, but adoption of these in line with solar growth is needed heavily from 2023 and beyond to ensure solar is being used as efficiently as possible.”

From Marley’s study of Google search data [2], it found a 47% increase in searches for “energy storage” in the last 12 months alone, showing a much greater demand than this time last year, and already amassing over 34k searches in the UK in this time period [2].

“Storing excess energy from solar panels is often the best way to save money and operate your energy efficiently. With a 47% increase in ‘energy storage’ searches in the past 12 months, I think the rumoured cap increase, along with the rising adoption of solar panels will fuel this further, and we could see a significant growth by the second quarter of this year,” concludes Tebbs.

 

References:

[1]https://www.data.gov.uk/dataset/c647e722-b691-47e9-a765-a22e24f05a04/solar-photovoltaics-deployment 

[2] Google Search Data – October 2021 search volume was 49, compared to October 2022’s search volume of 72.

[3] SEMrush keyword overview records 2.9k direct term searches per month for “energy storage”.