In a stunning turn of events, the UK has seen a significant surge in green energy modernisation, led by heat pumps and solar panels. According to recent data, in 2023 there was an incredible 62% increase in installations compared to the previous year, including batteries. These numbers surprised many, especially given the UK’s reputation for overcast weather.
According to The Guardian, by 2023 an average of more than 17,000 homes will have solar panels installed each month, while heat pump installations have reached a record 3,000 monthly installations for the first time. Battery technologies have also been successful, with installation numbers higher than previous months, bringing the total to over 1,000 batteries installed in homes and businesses across the UK so far this year.
The increasing visibility of climate change and rising energy prices have been instrumental in motivating people to turn to renewable technologies for their heating and energy needs. It is estimated that almost a quarter of a million households in the UK will have installed renewable energy systems by the end of 2023, beating the previous installation record set in 2012.
Power generation technologies, particularly solar photovoltaic (PV), will account for more than 80% of installations by 2023. The UK government has set ambitious targets to achieve 70GW of solar capacity by 2035. Energy has been boosted by the rising costs of traditional energy sources.
The Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS), the industry accreditation body, plays a critical role in maintaining and improving the quality and certification of low-carbon energy technologies and contractors. Ian Rippin, CEO of MCS, stresses the importance of continuing to expand renewable energy assets to meet the collective national goal of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. In order to facilitate this transition, it is crucial to simplify the process of integrating renewable technologies. in existing houses.
The installation of heat pump water heaters has shown promise, with almost 18,000 hot water heat pumps installed in the first half of 2023. But Bean Beanland, director of foreign affairs for the Heat Pump Federation, believes there is still work to be done before heat pump technology becomes commonplace by the end of the decade. Despite the introduction of subsidies and promises of lower operating costs, the current pace of heat pump installation is expected to meet just 6% of the government’s target of 600,000 installations per year by 2028.
MCS also emphasizes that the lack of qualified installers is a major obstacle to achieving government goals. There are currently 1,500 certified heat pump installers in the UK, but around 50,000 more workers are needed to meet government targets. Increased investment in skills and training, as well as government regulations for solar panels, heat pumps and battery storage, are required for all new homes from 2025 under the Future Homes Standard.
For the UK’s heat and power sector, which accounts for 30% of total energy use, it is crucial to undergo decarbonisation in order to meet the country’s net-zero emissions target. Compliance with the Future Homes Standard, which will come into force from 2025, aims to drastically reduce the CO2 emissions of newly built houses. The move away from polluting fossil fuels must be affordable and feasible for homeowners and renters, and accompanied by comprehensive financing packages.
The impressive growth of the UK green energy market is testament to the growing awareness of climate change and the financial and environmental benefits of renewable energy. As households and businesses recognize the potential for cost savings and to help mitigate climate change, the use of heat pumps, solar panels and battery storage continues to grow.