The UK’s solar industry installed nearly 640MW of solar throughout Q1 2017, edging the technology’s UK-based capacity nearer 13GW.
Writing for sister publication Solar Power Portal, Solar Media head of market research Finlay Colville stated that a total of 118 ground-mount solar farms – the majority of which were 4.5-5MW in size – were connected to the grid in the first quarter of the year as the final accreditation window of the Renewables Obligation scheme slammed shut.
Colville has tracked solar deployment in the UK, publishing accurate deployment figures well ahead of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s official monthly statistics.
“The rush to connect by 31 March 2017, and subsequently apply for accreditation from Ofgem for 1.2 ROCs, saw an incredible number of solar farms built. Of the 118 solar farms accounting for the ground-mount contribution, 90 of these had capacity in the range 4.5-5 MW.
“The sheer volume of new sites coming onto the market is happening just as trading on secondary asset portfolios has shifted gears on UK solar farms. Short term portfolio holders – that had been diligently building up portfolios over the past three or four years – are currently in sell mode, mostly through choice rather than for cashflow purposes,” Colville said.
Solar deployment in Q1 2017 is of importance considering the number of generation records broken recently. Last month UK solar claimed a new record peak generation of 8.91GW, equivalent to just shy of 25% of the UK’s total demand at the time.
However the model used to determine that figure – compiled by The University of Sheffield and National Grid – estimates installed GB capacity to be at 12.06GW and effective GB capacity at 11.79GW. That actual capacity is in effect almost 1GW above those projections means that PV’s real contribution to the grid on such occasions is to be higher than expected.
Renewables are having an increasingly significant role in the UK power market and last weekend helped send UK grid carbon intensity to levels within fifth carbon budget parameters, albeit briefly.
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