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Solar energy deployment jumps by 27% in 2020 despite pandemic

Professional Engineering

Of the new UK solar energy capacity, 60% came from ground-mounted photovoltaic systems (Credit: Shutterstock)
Of the new UK solar energy capacity, 60% came from ground-mounted photovoltaic systems (Credit: Shutterstock)

Solar energy capacity in the UK grew by 525MW in 2020, despite the huge twin challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic and a lack of subsidies.

The ‘major growth’ was a 27% year-on-year increase compared with 2019, said Solar Energy UK and Solar Media, which carried out the new analysis.

Of the new capacity, 60% came from ground-mounted photovoltaic systems. The remaining 40% was installed on rooftops, with the majority located on commercial and industrial buildings.

The increased deployment came despite 2020 being the first full subsidy-free calendar year. Subsidies will be available again at the end of 2021

Solar Media head of research Finlay Colville said: “The UK solar industry is now operating effectively in a post-subsidy phase with strong growth dynamics. The outlook for 2021 and beyond is expected to see continued deployment at the gigawatt-plus level, with investments now flowing into the sector for both rooftop and ground-mount projects.”

At the end of 2020, 13.9 gigawatts (GW) of solar capacity had been installed in the UK. In April 2020, solar hit a new all-time peak generation record of 9.68 GW, while in May 2020 it supplied 11% of all electricity.

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