UK hits 8.4 GW of solar capacity

Remaining Europe’s biggest solar market for the second year running, cumulative solar PV capacity in the U.K. hit 8.437 GW at the end of November 2015, across 815,505 systems, according to DECC. Installed capacity is said to have increased 67%, or 3.4 GW over the past year. In the same period last year, 2.168 GW were added.

Representing 47% of total installations, capacity accredited under the Renewables Obligation – set to close this April 1 – accounted for 3.946 GW, while capacity eligible for FITs stood at 3.615 GW.

The U.K. has seen its solar sector flourish in the past few years, with capacity increasing from just 223 MW in 2011, to over 8.4 GW today. However, despite a predicted boom in Q1, set to be bigger than the over 2 GW installed last Q1, the market is set to contract significantly this year, following harsh cuts to the country’s solar remuneration system.

Following the announcement of the final cuts in December, IHS told pv magazine the sector would be unviable post March, while it will be hard for solar to play a larger role in the country based on the changes.

Not all were so negative, however, with the U.K’s biggest large-scale solar farm developer, Lightsource Renewable Energy saying it was planning to build plants without subsidies. Others were also positive about the investment possibilities in the country.