Annual UK solar PV installations soar by 70% and produce record output

According to new data from MCS (Microgeneration Certification Scheme), solar photovoltaic (PV) panels installed on British homes equates to 3GW of electricity for the UK grid for the first time ever last year.

This represents £20billion, the estimated cost of construction for the Sizewell C nuclear power plant, which will have an energy output of 3.2GW. With installation numbers soaring, the MCS installation database predicts that solar PV will surpass the Suffolk reactor’s output by spring this year.

The data also shows that, in 2021, 61,455 UK properties had solar panels installed – an increase of 71% on the previous year (35,841*). This takes the total number of ‘sunny roofed’ residential properties to one million, according to the Solar Energy UK.

Ian Rippin, chief executive of MCS, said: “The rate at which domestic solar PV systems are being installed is hugely positive and shows continued confidence in home-grown energy.

“Consumers are increasingly keen to invest in low-carbon technology for the home because installation costs are falling as energy prices soar. Behavioural changes brought about during the pandemic also continue to influence the purchasing decision.

“Every homeowner should feel empowered to find the right renewable energy technology to power their homes, particularly given the long-term economic and environmental benefits. These include saving money and the environment, adding value to their homes, and supporting the businesses that are certified to install them.”

Kevin McCann, policy manager at Solar Energy UK, added: “The MCS-accredited solar market is flying, with more than 61,000 installations in 2021. This shouldn’t be a surprise: solar is a proven way to cut costs and lower carbon emissions. We expect changes in building regulations and investment in sustainability to continue to drive uptake.”

MCS is a quality assurance scheme, supported by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS). It provides the framework for the certification of microgeneration technologies used to produce electricity and heat from low-carbon sources.

The MCS also recently launched its industry-first Battery Installation Standard, which outlines the requirements for MCS certified installers who supply, design, and install electrical energy storage or battery systems. It covers installations up to 50kW and Electrical Energy Storage Systems (EESS) classes 1 – 4.

*Rate of installations impacted by Covid-19