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In 2023, the installation of rooftop solar panels in the UK reached its highest point in 12 years

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According to industry data, nearly 190,000 installations were completed last year, alongside a record number of heat pump installations.

The installation of rooftop solar panels has surged to its highest level in 12 years for both households and businesses, as revealed by the industry’s official standards body in 2023. Concurrently, heat pump installations have reached record highs.

Industry data indicates that nearly 190,000 rooftop solar installations were carried out last year, marking the highest level since the government reduced its subsidy scheme in late 2011. Moreover, the number of heat pumps installed across the UK saw a remarkable increase, reaching almost 40,000, a 25% rise from the previous year. This data brings the total number of certified heat pumps installed nationwide to over 200,000.

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The MCS, the industry’s accreditation body, noted a late surge in demand for heat pumps following the government’s decision to raise grants through its boiler upgrade scheme. In October, the grant for an air-source heat pump increased from £5,000 to £7,500, leading to a 50% uptick in applications after the introduction of the higher rate.

Nevertheless, the MCS Foundation, responsible for overseeing the body’s standards scheme, pointed out that the UK is still falling short of its objective to decrease dependence on gas, a crucial step in meeting the nation’s legally binding climate targets.

The foundation emphasized that the installation of heat pumps would need to increase more than tenfold within the next four years to meet the government’s target of 600,000 installations annually by 2028.

David Cowdrey, the director of external affairs at the foundation, underscored the necessity for additional government policies, beyond the increased grants, to achieve the “exponential growth” required at this juncture.

He urged the government to transfer social and environmental tariffs from energy bills to general taxation to lower electricity costs, making the operation of heat pumps significantly more cost-effective than using a gas boiler.

Charlotte Lee, the CEO of the Heat Pump Association, a trade body, emphasized, “As consumer interest in heat pumps grows, we urge all heating engineers to plan ahead and invest in training for heat pump installations.

This will not only support the expected surge in deployment but also future-proof their businesses.” In contrast, solar installations failed to reach the record set in 2011, with 203,000 installations, as individuals rushed to capitalize on the feed-in-tariff support scheme before its reduction.

Chris Hewett, CEO of Solar Energy UK, expressed, “The solar industry is making significant strides, especially as we near the completion of the government-industry solar taskforce’s work. The roadmap for achieving 70GW of capacity is set to be published in the coming months.

Additionally, it is highly satisfying to witness substantial growth in the adoption of heat pumps and battery energy storage systems. These technologies complement rooftop solar energy systems effectively, maximizing the savings and decarbonization they provide.”


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