As we look ahead to the end of the Feed-in Tariff next year I have been reflecting how far solar in the UK has come.
Look at Currys circa 2006 as a reference point – a year when the high-street electrical retailer dabbled in selling solar panels direct to the public. The Sharp modules were introduced at the price of *only* £1,000 each. A quick scan this morning of wholesale websites presents a selection of quality panels in the £80-£85 range. Accounting for more efficient panels, prices are down 95%.
Increasing installed capacity
Given the falling cost of solar, it is perhaps not surprising that from 2006 to 2017 installed capacity has grown 1,556 times in size. Due to sudden drops in subsidy it hasn’t necessarily been a smooth journey to 13GWp, but there is no doubt that it wouldn’t have been possible without subsidy.
A subsidy-free future (and present)
Subsidy in solar has been both a blessing and a curse. It has allowed a new industry to start but cuts and policy changes have led to feast and famine trends over the past decade.
In September 2017 Climate Change Minister Claire Perry officially opened the UK’s first subsidy-free solar farm. The Clayhill Solar Farm in Bedfordshire, a 10MWp solar and battery storage site rightly made the national news and was uplifting for the solar industry after a turbulent decade.
Here at Zestec we are proud to be developing a number of subsidy-free commercial rooftop projects proving that solar can stand on its own two feet at the kW scale as well. It feels like a very exciting time to be in the industry, suddenly the end of the Feed in Tariff doesn’t seem like such a scary prospect.