UK adds 261 MW in first quarter of 2013

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Installed solar PV in the U.K. reached 2 GW in the first quarter of 2013 while the share of electricity from renewables climbed 11.3% to 12.3%, according to the Department of Energy and Climate Change’s (DECC) recently issued energy statistics.

The U.K. generated 12.4 TWh of renewable electricity in the first three months of the year, an increase of 10% on the 11.3 TWh produced in the same period a year ago.

Of this, offshore wind showed the highest absolute increase in generation in the first quarter of 2013, rising 68%. Generation from solar PV, however, also surged due to increased capacity. Specifically, solar PV systems generated 0.38 TWh of electricity in the quarter, 44% more than a year earlier.

PV installed capacity

Renewable electricity capacity grew 33%, or 4.4 GW, to 17.6 GW in the period. Of that, solar accounted for 11% as the U.K.’s installed PV capacity grew by 56% year-on-year to 2 GW at the end of 2013’s first quarter.

Solar PV capacity increased by 261 MW from January to March, mainly due to the continued high uptake of the British Feed in Tariff (FiT) scheme.

Specifically, of the total 138 MW newly installed renewable power capacity via the FiT scheme in the first quarter, solar PV contributed 98 MW.

Solar photovoltaics represented the majority of both FiT approved installations and installed capacity, with a respective 99% and 88% of the total. The majority of the FiT PV installations are sub-4 kW retrofitted schemes, which increased to 350,507 (1,041 MW) at the end of the quarter.

The country’s Renewables Obligation scheme contributed a further 29 MW of new PV capacity in the period, while the total also includes sites that are not accredited as well as sites that are awaiting accreditation.

Progress towards the EU 2020 target

According to the EU’s 2009/28/EC directive on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources, the U.K. needs to produce 15% of energy from renewable sources by 2020.

Last week’s statistics published by the DECC shows that progress has been made towards this target. Provisional calculations show that 4.1% of energy consumption in 2012 came from renewable sources, a 3.8% increase over 2011.

While the contribution of renewable electricity grew significantly, renewable heating remained constant and the contribution of renewable transport fell.

However, the target is defined across the years 2011 and 2012, and calculating the average contribution across these two years shows that provisionally the U.K. achieved 3.94% of energy consumption from renewables.