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British public showing an increased appetite for renewable technologies

New figures released by MCS, the official standards body for renewable technologies, show that the first six months of this year saw a 62% jump in the installtion of heat pumps and solar panels in the UK.

More than 120,000 certified solar panels, heat pumps and other renewable technologies were installed in UK homes, the most ever for the first six months of a year, beating the record set in 2012, when the prospect of cuts in the Feed-In Tariff prompted a rush on solar installation.

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So far in 2023, there has been an average of  20,000 solar panel installations and 3,000 heat pump installations per month. At this rate of growth nearly a quarter of a million households could install renewable energy by the end of this year.

Renewable energy installations on homes and small businesses across the UK now have a total installed capacity of 4GW representing 13% of the UK’s current energy demand.

The supply and installation of heat pumps has been boosted by the increased number of certified installers. So far this year over 850 new contractors have become MCS certified – more than joined the scheme during the whole of last year. 

As a result of this, and the increased take-up of Government grants, 17,920 heat pumps were installed in the first six months of 2023.

MCS CEO Ian Rippin said: ‘We are pleased to report that the UK is on track for its strongest year ever for certified small-scale renewable technology installations. The home-grown energy you invest in for your home, or your business plays an ever more crucial role in the decarbonisation of UK buildings.

‘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.

‘That is why MCS is currently considering feedback from contractors, consumers, and industry experts on proposals to redevelop and scheme and remove some of the complexity in the sector. We continue to grow year-on-year and it is important that we keep our eye on the future and take time to reassess how we support the industry as that progress continues.’

Gareth Simkins, Senior Communications Adviser at Solar Energy UK said: ‘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. 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.’

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.

‘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. This transition will accelerate as consumers appreciate the advances in protection that the revisions to the MCS scheme are designed to deliver. 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.”

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