Over the course of last year the electricity generated from solar installations across the UK almost doubled, figures from the Department of Energy and Climate Change show.
The official data finds that at the end of 2014 solar generated almost 5 gigawatts (GW), up from 2.8 GW at the end of 2013. The latest figure is enough power to supply 1.5 million homes across the country, demonstrating the growth and widening reach of the renewable sector, and has been described as a “milestone achievement”.
The growth comes despite uncertainty within the solar industry, with larger solar farms being removed from the Renewables Obligation scheme, a government subsidy.
In response to the figures, Paul Barwell, CEO of the Solar Trade Association, commented, “This milestone achievement is testament to the hard world of Britain’s thousands of solar businesses, almost of all of them small and medium sized companies, who are all at the forefront of a real solar transformation as the technology steadily become one of the cheapest sources of clean, home-grown power.”
He continued that solar is amongst the most popular forms of energy generation in the UK and that by 2020 solar could be cost competitive with gas and no longer need government subsidies. However, Barwell added that this could only be achieved if the government provides a “stable policy framework and a level playing field with other technologies”.
Several other organisations have also predicted that solar energy will outperform fossil fuels in the long term. Investment bank Citigroup has previously argued that the solar industry will continue to grow on a global scale and will be competitive with fossil fuels because of “pure economics” and the need to diversify energy supply.
Photo: Bernd Sieker via Flickr