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A Brief Overview of Solar Energy in the UK: What to Know

Updated: Sep 12, 2023

Solar energy has emerged as a key player in the global transition towards renewable sources of energy. The United Kingdom, with its commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and transitioning to a low-carbon economy, has witnessed a significant rise in the adoption of solar energy. In this blog, we explore the use of solar energy in the UK, highlighting its growth, benefits, and future prospects.



Solar panels on a house

Solar energy growth in the UK

The use of solar energy in the UK has experienced remarkable growth over the past decade. According to statistics from the Solar Trade Association (STA), the UK's solar capacity has increased from just 22 megawatts (MW) in 2010 to over 13,000 MW by the end of 2020. This growth can be attributed to several factors, including declining installation costs, supportive government policies, and increased awareness of the environmental benefits of solar power.


Government policies and incentives

To encourage the adoption of solar energy, the UK government has implemented various policies and incentives. The Feed-in Tariff (FiT) scheme, introduced in 2010, provided financial incentives to homeowners and businesses that generated their own renewable electricity. Although the FiT scheme closed to new applicants in 2019, it played a crucial role in kickstarting the solar industry in the UK. The Smart Export Guarantee (SEG), introduced in 2020, ensures that solar panel owners are paid for the surplus energy they export to the grid.


Residential solar installations

The UK has witnessed a significant increase in residential solar installations. Homeowners are increasingly realising the financial and environmental benefits of generating their own clean energy. Solar panels on rooftops not only reduce electricity bills but also provide a reliable source of power, especially during peak demand periods. The falling costs of solar installations, coupled with the SEG scheme, have made solar energy an attractive option for homeowners across the country.


Utility-scale solar farms

In addition to residential installations, the UK has seen the development of utility-scale solar farms. These large-scale solar installations, often located on unused land or in rural areas, have the capacity to generate significant amounts of renewable energy. Solar farms contribute to the national grid, supplying clean electricity to homes and businesses, and reducing reliance on fossil fuels.


Future prospects

The future of solar energy in the UK looks promising. The falling costs of solar installations, combined with advancements in technology, are making solar power increasingly competitive with traditional energy sources. Energy storage systems, such as batteries, are becoming more affordable, allowing solar power to be harnessed even when the sun is not shining.


The UK government's commitment to achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 further supports the growth of solar energy. Continued investment in research and development, coupled with supportive policies, will drive the expansion of solar installations and pave the way for a cleaner and more sustainable future.


If you would like to talk to one of our experts about solar energy and solar panels then make sure you contact us today. We have many years of experience in the industry and would love to talk to you about your options.

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