UK power company to install free solar panels on 100,000 homes, as reports reveal country’s PV market is taking off

HomeSun says it intends to equip 2,000 homes with solar panels in the next 12 months. Under an exclusive partnership, Green services supplier Eaga will install and maintain the systems. If homeowners don’t qualify for the free installation, they could still be eligible for SolarShare, whereby the company says it will install, guarantee and maintain an £11k+ solar PV system for 25 years at a one-off fee of £500, plus a £5 per month for SolarCare.

A spokesperson told pv magazine that there has already been a huge response to the campaign, with the company having received 15,000 phone calls from interested parties within the first 48 hours. The process will now involve HomeSun filtering through the applications to assess who will qualify for the installations. Requirements include that the person must own their home and that it is south facing.

British Gas also revealed that it intends to install £15 million worth of free solar panels in the country’s schools back in July, thus underlining the positive PV progress the UK is making.

Moreover, iSuppli Corp. recently released a report stating that, due to “attractive government incentives”, it is currently the world’s fastest growing country for PV installations this year. From its research, it believes that PV system installations will reach 96 megawatts (MW) in 2010, which is an increase of 1,500 percent from six MW last year. “While the country’s growth will start from a nearly negligible level in 2009, the expansion will dramatically outpace the growth of the next fastest-growing nation – Spain – which will rise by approximately 730 percent in 2010,” said the research company in a statement. Dr. Henning Wicht added: “When you think of weather in the UK, London fog comes to mind more readily than bright sunshine. However, things definitely are looking brighter for the solar market in the UK in 2010, as the country has adopted attractive feed-in tariffs (FIT) to promote PV adoption. Furthermore, with leading solar country Germany cutting its FITs, the focus of the PV world is shifting to places with more favorable incentives – making the UK a solar hotspot this year.” He backed up this belief in an interview with pv magazine, when he said the UK is one of the main regions to watch in the future, alongside Ontario in Canada.

Additionally, the UK’s electricity and gas regulator for Great Britain, Ofgem released official figures for PV installations in the country for this year to date, since the new feed-in tariff came into effect on April 1. In total, an 11.274 MW capacity has been reached, with over 4,460 installations. The domestic market represented the majority of installations (4,432). In comparison, there were 22 commercial installations and seven community installations.