UK solar panel installations at seven-year low

The number of solar panel installations in the UK over the past year has tumbled to a seven-year low, despite falling costs, as the government cut solar incentives, according to data from blockchain energy firm Energi Mine.

After analysing eight years of government data, Energi Mine found that solar photovoltaics (PV) installations dropped following a shift in government policy away from a rebate incentive scheme called the feed-in tariff (FiT) in 2016.

The firm's research found that in the two years since the government cut the FiT by more than 60 per cent, the number of new solar PV installations plummeted from over 26,000 a month in December 2015 to just 2,422 in January 2018.

That's despite the cost of installing a four kilowatt (kW) domestic solar PV system falling from about £14,000 in 2011 to as little as £4,000 in 2018.

Feed-in tariffs, which are payments made to homes that generate their own electricity, have stalled at 3.93p per kW hour (kWh), versus an average consumer price of 13p per kWh.

Omar Rahim, chief executive at Energi Mine, states that habitual change can only take hold if people are financially incentivised and rewarded.

“Much like the introduction of charges for plastic bags, financial rewards need to be introduced for energy saving behaviour to deliver the necessary results," he said.

Rahim said the change in government policy on solar incentives "undermined" their progress.

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