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UK microgeneration spurred by feed-in tariff

Renewable energy microgeneration uptake in the UK is increasing with a 400% jump since the feed-in tariff was introduced in April 2010.

By Kari Williamson

Solar photovoltaics (PV) has led the way with an increase of 900% and wind and hydropower have doubled, according to figures released by energy and environmental consultancy AEA.

Solar PV now makes up almost 75% of renewable energy under the feed-in tariff in the UK, driven by small-scale domestic installations.

AEA says this trend looks set to continue, along with growth from solar parks and social housing installations in advance of Department of Energy and Climate Change’s (DECC) revision of tariff support levels in March 2012.

DECC has already announced an early reduction of support levels for large-scale solar PV, which has created a surge in large solar park connections to beat the 1 August deadline and receive the original, higher tariffs. This could result in 10s of MWe capacity being registered in the coming months.

Furthermore, the new Barclays fund of £100 million to assist farmers finance renewable energy projects should further grow large-scale installations.

Social housing providers are also taking advantage of the feed-in tariff scheme and are rolling out large scale solar PV installations. These could be developed gradually and will appear as small-scale domestic systems.

Regional leaders

Amongst the 10 largest cities in the UK, Sheffield has gained a lead in renewable energy capacity since the launch of the feed-in tariff – achieving over 8 times as much installed capacity/1000 population as London and 15 times as much as Manchester.

Leeds and Bristol come in second and third place respectively.

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This article is featured in:
Green building  •  Other marine energy and hydropower  •  Photovoltaics (PV)  •  Policy, investment and markets  •  Solar electricity  •  Wind power