UK Homes Install Record Numbers of Heat Pumps and Solar Panels in First Half of 2023
In the first half of 2023, households in the UK installed a record number of solar panels and heat pumps, according to MCS, the official standards body of the renewable technologies industry.
Installations for the two green energy sources were up 62 percent from the previous year, with an average of more than 17,000 households installing solar panels every month, reported Energy Live News and The Guardian.
Battery technology installations have grown each month, with more than 1,000 batteries installed in UK businesses and homes so far this year.
“In the spring, it was looking like we would have something like 215,000 MCS certified solar installations this year. But that was clearly an underestimate – I would bet on around 250,000 now,” said Gareth Simkins of Solar Energy UK, as The Independent reported. “Installing solar on your roof is one of the best home improvements you can make and more and more people realise the financial and environmental benefits.”
The UK government has a solar capacity target of 70 gigawatts (GW) by 2025. It also wants to install 600,000 heat pumps by 2028.
In the first half of this year, 17,920 heat pumps were installed, thanks to the availability of grants.
One of the biggest obstacles to increasing heat pump installations, according to MCS, is the number of skilled, qualified installers. It said that to meet the goal of 600,000 installations, 50,000 workers would be needed.
MCS said more than 850 new contractors have gotten their certification in 2023, which has already surpassed last year’s total.
“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,” said MCS Chief Executive Ian Rippin, as reported by The Guardian. “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.”
Small-scale renewables installations in the UK currently have four GW of capacity, which is nearly twice that of the largest gas power plant in Europe, located near Pembroke, Wales.
“It is essential that the lowest-carbon heat becomes the lowest-cost heat, so that homeowners and landlords can justify the transition away from polluting fossil fuels,” said Bean Beanland, the director of external affairs at the Heat Pump Federation, as The Guardian reported. “If this is coupled to a genuine affordability and future funding package, then households will be able to contribute to climate change mitigation with confidence and at a cost that is fair to all.”