UK households are installing solar panels and heat pumps at a greater rate than ever before, with a 62% year-on-year increase taking place over the first half of 2023.
That is according to new data from MCS, the official standards body for renewables, which shows that 120,000 certified solar panels, heat pumps and other renewable technologies were installed in homes over the first six months of 2023 – the highest number ever by this point in a year.
This year is also the first to average more than 20,000 solar panel installations, and over 3,000 heat pumps installations, per month. If this trend continues, nearly a quarter of a million households could install renewable energy by the end of this year.
The previous record for renewable installations was more than a decade ago in 2012, when households raced to get solar panels before cuts to the feed-in tariff incentive scheme kicked in.
However, MCS warned that progress could be derailed by a lack of skilled workers, and is now calling for further investment in training to build up a workforce that can respond to demand for renewable energy.
CEO Ian Rippin said: “The UK is on track for its strongest year ever for certified small-scale renewable technology installations. As the cost of energy continues to grow, we are seeing more people turn to renewable technology to generate their own energy and heat at home.
“We need to continue to push this expansion to meet our shared national ambitions to reach net zero by 2050. More consumers have the confidence to invest in small-scale renewables now than ever, but we have to make that transition even easier.”
The UK government has set targets to reach 70GW of solar capacity by 2035, and to install 600,000 heat pumps a year by 2028. MCS said that the growth in renewable technology in the last few years is promising, but there is “still much further to go”.
The growth in solar panels and heat pumps has been mirrored by battery storage growth, with each month of 2023 being a record month for battery technologies, and over 1,000 batteries going into homes and businesses so far this year.
As well as further investment in skills and training, MCS is calling on the government to mandate solar panels, heat pumps, and battery storage in all new homes from 2025 under the new Future Homes Standard.
Commenting on the success of heat pump deployment, Bean Beanland, director of external affairs at the Heat Pump Federation, said: “Whilst there is much to celebrate, there is a tremendous job of work to do to ensure that heat pump technology becomes mainstream over the remainder of this decade.
“Enhancing the collaboration with existing and future installers is critical, both to industry success and to the continued development of policy supportive of the electrification of heat and the complete cessation of combustion in due course.”
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