Great news coming directly from the South West of England: a report published by Regen SW last Wednesday reveals renewable generation capacity in this region of the UK has more than doubled in comparison to the last year, increasing from 217MW in 2010/11 to 525MW in 2011/12.
Although really good figures showed up for all the renewable energies generation, the growth is dominated by solar photovoltaic. The number of projects has increased from 7,500 in the last year to almost 55,000 in 2011/2012. This has raised the installed capacity to 188 MW from small and medium scale solar PV installations, and at least 75 MW from stand-alone solar farms. Solar thermal also accounts for 8.9 MW of renewable heat capacity in the southwest, from just over 3,000 projects.
The great majority of solar PV installations across the south west and the UK were done during the months before the Feed-in Tariffs changed. Around 47,000 projectswere installed in 2011/2012, compared to 4,000 over a similar period in 2010/2011. 62% of these were installed in just four months, in the period running up to 1 April 2012. As mentioned in Regen SW report, this huge increase of solar PV installations can be also attributed to falling costs of installations, that have dropped down around 38% in less than one year.
Regarding bigger solar PV projects, the report also contemplates the number of applications for solar parks is increasing again, due to the falling costs, and everything points out to a bright future for solar parks during the next year.
This increase in the number of projects in the renewable sector has also a direct consequence in the number of green jobs created within the region. The report estimates that 10,000 people are now employed in the clean-tech sector – which represents growth of 40% each year.
For an in-depth reading into solar PV or any other renewable energy results, find the full report here.