The UK is set to become the largest market for solar PV in Europe during 2014, confirming its status as the hottest market across the region.
This is the first time that the UK will have taken podium position for installed PV in Europe, and effectively ends the historic dominance of mainland Europe, in particular Germany.
In fact, in the 19-year period from 1995 to 2013, Germany was the leading country for solar PV in Europe every year, with the exception of 2008 when the Spanish market had its brief boom year.
Therefore, 2014 will be only the second year in two decades that a country, other than Germany, has held the top spot for European PV market demand.
The emergence of the UK is all the more poignant when looking at installed capacity just a few years ago. At the end of 2009, installed PV in the UK was just 0.3% of that installed in Germany. Yet, just four years on and the UK is likely to overtake Germany for annual PV demand in 2014.
According to the latest research on the European PV market for 2014, sourced from the forthcoming NPD Solarbuzz European PV Markets Quarterly report, the UK is now forecast to add 2.875GW of solar PV in 2014. This represents a further upgrade by NPD Solarbuzz on the UK market for 2014, with the previous forecast a couple of months ago putting the UK at 2.5GW for the year.
The basis of the bullish forecast for the UK is based on a variety of factors:
• NPD Solarbuzz just finalised Q1 2014 demand for the UK at just above 1.1GW, due to several additional projects completed just ahead of the 31 March 2014 ROC deadline.
• Funding remains strong under 1.4 ROCs (and even 1.3 ROCs for 2015/2016), with a very healthy pipeline of large-scale projects to be completed from Q2 to Q4’14, as sourced from the new NPD Solarbuzz UK Deal Tracker report.
• There is likely to be a Q4’14 push to avoid flooding concerns in Q1’15.
• The small FiT markets remain buoyant, with the residential and sub-50kW commercial rooftop markets successfully navigating FiT degression phases.
• The large rooftop market has sprung to life since the start of the year, with a plethora of megawatt-plus installations already done.
2014 will certainly be the year that the UK PV market truly arrived on the global scene, with the expectation now that the UK will emerge as the fourth largest PV market globally in 2014. This, compared to a few years ago, will come as huge satisfaction for all involved in the UK PV industry.