A remarkable surge in green energy upgrades can be seen in UK households, setting new records in the installation of solar panels and heat pumps in the first six months of 2023, as per the industry’s official standards body.
In June alone, the industry witnessed more green energy installations than in any previous years. The figures indicate a consistent increase in the number of households opting for solar panels, with an average of over 17,000 installations each month. Heat pump installations have also hit a new high, with the rate surpassing 3,000 a month for the first time.
“As the cost of energy continues to grow, we are seeing more people turn to renewable technology to generate their own energy and heat at home.” – Ian Rippin, Chief Executive of MCS
2023 has been a year of records for battery technologies, with installation figures consistently surpassing the month before. This led to more than 1,000 batteries installed across the UK, in homes and businesses alike, within the first half of the year.
The surge in green energy has put households on track to surpass the 2012 record of renewable energy installations, a year when many raced to install solar panels before government subsidies were reduced. Small-scale renewable energy installations across the UK now have a total capacity of 4 gigawatts (GW), outperforming Hinkley Point nuclear power plant under construction and almost doubling the capacity of Europe’s largest gas power plant near Pembroke in Wales.
The UK government has set ambitious targets to reach 70GW of solar capacity by 2035 and to install 600,000 heat pumps per year by 2028. Despite grants of up to £5,000 to lessen the cost of replacing old gas boilers, the uptake of heat pumps has fallen far behind the government’s ambitious aim.
In the first six months of 2023, there were 17,920 heat pump installations according to MCS data. If we project the same pace for the second half of the year, heat pump installations would reach only 6% of the government’s target.
“There is a tremendous job of work to do” to ensure that heat pump technology becomes mainstream over the remainder of this decade.” – Bean Beanland, Director of External Affairs at the Heat Pump Federation
One of the significant challenges to achieving the government’s heat pump targets is the lack of qualified, skilled installers who can provide trustworthy advice and installations. While the UK currently has 1,500 certified heat pump installation companies, an estimated 50,000 workers will be needed to meet the government’s targets.
Beanland further emphasized the necessity for the lowest-carbon heat to become the lowest-cost heat. According to him, homeowners and landlords can justify the transition away from polluting fossil fuels only if it is coupled with genuine affordability and future funding packages.