Overall, UK solar PV capacity stood at 11,858 MW across 911,278 installations at the end of March, according to provisional statistics published by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). This figure represents an increase of 6% compared to the same time last year.
On closer analysis, however, the number of new installations supported by the Feed-in Tariff (FIT) scheme has significantly dropped away since January 2016 when cuts were made to tariffs for new entrants. Only 3MW of new Solar PV capacity was installed in November 2016, compared to 96MW one year earlier.
The FITs support scheme is available for a range of renewable technologies with a total installed capacity of up to 5MW. Until 2015, larger-scale Solar PV projects could apply for funding under the Renewables Obligation (RO). However, the RO closed to large-scale solar PV stations in April 2015, and one year later for smaller-scale PV. Within the last 12 months, the largest increase in capacity occurred in March 2016 (1,234 MW), just before the RO was closed to smallerscale installations.
As can be seen in the chart above, 47% (5,600 MW) of total installed solar PV capacity has come from large-scale installations greater than 5 MW, which would have been largely funded by the RO. The RO has now ended for new entrants of all technologies, being replaced by the Contract for Differences (CfD) scheme, which is operates on an auction basis. The first operational solar farm to be accredited for CfD became operational at the end of 2016. However, the notice for the next CfD round to be held in 2017 does not include Solar PV.