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New figures show that the UK installed more solar infrastructures than any other European country in 2014, and is likely to retain its leading position in 2015.

According to new data, the UK installed 2.5. gigawatts of solar power last year, which is more than a third of the overall European solar capacity created in 2014, and has therefore surpassed traditional powerhouses such as Germany and France.

The country is likely to retain its leading position in 2015 as well, as it has already installed 2 gigawatts of power this year due to a rush to complete solar projects before the entry into force of deep subsidy cuts for large solar farms; in fact, starting from 1 April 2015, the government closed the Renewables Obligation (RO) subsidy scheme to ground-mounted solar panels of 5 megawatts capacity or larger. Nevertheless, another 1 gigawatt could be installed throughout the rest of the year under other support measures – such as the feed-in tariff incentive scheme – and some solar farm developers will still be allowed to claim their subsidy under the RO thanks to a grace period clause in the policy.

However, these data come amid a difficult period for the European solar sector, as preliminary figures by the European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA) show installation rates across the Union have dramatically fallen between 2011 – when 21 gigawatts were installed – and 2014 – when less than 7 gigawatts were installed. According to the EPIA, this fall is due to a range of policy challenges, including some retroactive subsidy cuts and the introduction of import tariffs on cheap Chinese solar panels.

The news comes as the Japan Renewable Energy Foundation (JREF) announced that in the country solar energy has reached cost competitiveness, and doesn’t need government subsidies anymore.


The gLAWcal Team

POREEN project

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

(Source: Business Green)