U.K. Moves Toward Bigger Solar Plants as Costs Drop

Solar-energy developers in the U.K. are installing bigger power plants after the cost of panels dropped quicker than the government reduced subsidies, the British Photovoltaic Association said.

More than half of projects in development are sized 5 megawatts or bigger, up from about a third in the first quarter, when installations reached 520 megawatts, Reza Shaybani, the head of the British Photovoltaic Association, said today in an interview at a conference in Munich.

Investors can generate returns of “between 8 percent to 12 percent, depending on what you install,” he said. The plunge in prices for solar systems eclipsed the feed-in-tariff cuts of about 50 percent, he said in a speech at the gathering.

Britain seeks to install as much as 22 gigawatts of solar energy by 2020 as part of a target to get 15 percent of its energy from renewables by the same year. While the U.K. is “well on track” to achieve its 2020 solar target, the BPVA is asking the government to suspend further cuts to the feed-in-tariff and the Renewables Obligations Certificate for 12 months because of the European Union’s anti-dumping tariffs on China that are hurting sales, he said.

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