According to a new report from IHS, the leading global source of critical information and insight, at least 110 PV projects with a combined capacity of 1.6 GW were completed in the United Kingdom in Q1’15, prior to the end of the Renewable Obligations (RO) scheme for projects larger than 5 MW.

This latest PV push brings the total number of large solar farms to 311, with a combined capacity of 3.8 GW, which is more than half (51%) of the UK’s total installed PV capacity of 7.5 GW.

“As in markets like Germany, France and Italy, PV developers and installers in the United Kingdom try to demonstrate how fast they can build large PV plants, once the paperwork has cleared,” said Josefin Berg, senior analyst for solar power at IHS. “In fact, some of these projects received their permits as late as early February of this year.”

According to the IHS UK Deal Tracker report, one third of the total capacity is controlled by the three largest PV investors in the UK–Lightsource, TerraForm Power, and Bluefield LLP–and half of the total capacity is owned by the 10 largest developers. “Financial investors dominate the ownership landscape in the UK, and we will see many of these newly built plants being acquired over the coming months,” Berg said.

The UK Deal Tracker contains data on locations; developers; engineering, procurement, and construction contractors (EPCCs); and owners for 2,403 PV projects in the United Kingdom. Of these, 831 projects are at various stages of development. “There are 500 projects in the UK pipeline that are larger than 5 MW, and they now will either have to be reduced to below 5 MW, submitted to the highly oversubscribed Contracts for Difference tenders, or scrapped entirely,” Berg said.

“After this rush in the UK, less capacity will be installed per quarter, but the market has not cooled off,” Berg continued. “How policy makers will react to this market pace remains to be seen, as we will not know much before the coming elections.”

Derick Lila
Derick is a Clark University graduate—and Fulbright alumni with a Master's Degree in Environmental Science, and Policy. He has over a decade of solar industry research, marketing, and content strategy experience.

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