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UK’s PV Installation Drops This Year, Merely 11MW in February

published: 2016-04-19 18:36

UK’s Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) announced statistics of solar PV installations for January and February 2016. The sum of installations during these two months only reached 142MW, and February's installations just amounted to 11MW. According to EnergyTrend's Analyst Patrick Lin, the changes of UK's demand mostly reflected the subsidiary policies' changes. Meanwhile, Lin estimated this year's demand will total around 1.2GW.

Based on data released by the UK government, the total PV installation capacities in January and February were just 142MW, plunging 59% from 226MW during the same period of last year. The installation capacity of PV installations of this March was not publicized yet. In comparison, last year's March system installation totaled 1,995MW, which was driven by the installation rush in advanced of the due date of fiscal year 2014’s Feed-in Tariff (FiT) schemes.

The UK government announced that the new start date of FY2016's FiT scheme would be shifted to an earlier date on January 15th. (Its grace period lasted until February 8th). Renewables Obligation (RO) certifications will go expired at the end of March, and grandfathering policy will cover power plants for three months and last until June 30th. Lifetime RO subsidiary will only be available for electricity suppliers who connect their PV power plants to the grid by June 30th.

These two major policy changes stimulated a wave of installation in January this year. Nonetheless, installation capacities rapidly decreased because of the beginning of FY2016. In March, the demand is expected to be relatively weak. Amid the systems done with installations during January 2016, 54MW were small-scale systems that were under 4kW.

Patrick Lin explained, large-scale PV power plants (>5MW) can receive RO's rebates. Therefore, the wave of installation and grid connections of large-scale PV projects will be postponed to May or June this year.

“After RO is completely terminated, renewable energy suppliers will not have subsidiaries of this kind. Thus, their future investing will become conservative,” explained Lin.

For the outlook of UK's 2016 annual demand, Lin predicted that the total installations will reach around 1.2GW for the following reasons. First, in second quarter, RO will nearly expire and trigger a wave of installations. Then in third quarter, demand will cool down. There will not be apparent demand until the end of 2016.

UK's new policy provides stronger support to rooftop PV systems. As a result, the market will be heading to the rooftop segment, projected Lin.

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