2014 looks set to be a winner for the United Kingdom’s solar energy sector. A new report showing a major increase in approvals for megawatt-scale solar farms will position the UK as Europe’s biggest photovoltaic market by the end of the year.
According information contained in analysis by market research firm NPD Solarbuzz, more than 325 solar PV farms were completed by the end of April 2014, with more than 60 above 10-megawatts of solar capacity.
“While reaching the long-term goal is expected to involve a blend of rooftop and ground-mounted systems, solar PV farms above 10 megawatts will provide the dominant contribution in 2014,” said Finlay Colville, vice-president at NPD Solarbuzz.
This year has seen more than 120 new solar projects granted planning approval, with an additional 444 awaiting building approval. The report found the UK sector had profited from a rush by solar developers to take advantage of the UK government’s support scheme under its Renewable Obligation policy before a funding reduction in 2015.
“Establishing a large portfolio of solar PV assets has become an attractive long-term financial proposition within the United Kingdom,” according to Colville. “The race is now on to develop and acquire solar PV farms, before the Renewable Obligations scheme is discontinued in 2017, or ahead of any legislative changes that may occur after the May 2015 general elections.”