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UK’s rooftop solar installations hit a 12-year peak in 2023, while heat pump installations soar, signaling a green energy surge.

The United Kingdom witnessed a remarkable surge in green energy adoption last year, with rooftop solar panel installations reaching a 12-year high and heat pump installations hitting record numbers, per the industry's official standards body.

In 2023, nearly 190,000 rooftop solar installations were completed, marking the most robust year for solar adoption since the government's subsidy cut in late 2011. Simultaneously, the nation saw an unprecedented installation of almost 40,000 heat pumps, a 25% increase from the previous year, bringing the total number of certified heat pumps in the UK to over 200,000.

The MCS, the industry’s accreditation body, observed a significant uptick in heat pump demand following the government's October decision to hike the boiler upgrade scheme grants from £5,000 to £7,500 for an air-source heat pump. This policy change led to a 50% surge in grant applications.

Despite these advances, the MCS Foundation, responsible for the body's standards scheme, expressed concerns that the UK is not progressing swiftly enough towards its objective of diminishing gas dependence, a critical component in achieving the nation's legally mandated climate goals. The foundation highlighted that heat pump installations must witness a more than tenfold increase within the next four years to meet the government's ambitious target of 600,000 installations annually by 2028.

David Cowdrey, the foundation's director of external affairs, emphasized the need for additional government measures beyond the increased grants to realize the "exponential growth" necessary at this juncture. He advocated for transferring social and environmental tariffs from energy bills to general taxation to lower electricity costs, thus making heat pumps a more cost-effective alternative to gas boilers.

In the industry, there is a growing call for heating engineers to adapt and prepare for the future. Charlotte Lee, CEO of the Heat Pump Association, encouraged professionals to embrace heat pump installation training, foreseeing a surge in consumer demand.

Although the recent solar installations didn't surpass the record 203,000 in 2011, there's optimism within the sector. Chris Hewett, CEO of Solar Energy UK, highlighted the industry's momentum and its synergy with heat pumps and battery storage systems. He noted, “The solar industry is on a roll... It is also very gratifying to see such growth in the deployment of heat pumps and battery energy storage systems, which partner so well with rooftop solar energy systems by maximizing the savings and decarbonization that they offer.”

As the UK strides forward with its green energy initiatives, the collaboration between government policy, industry innovation, and consumer adoption is increasingly seen as pivotal in the nation's journey toward a more sustainable and environmentally friendly future.

Samira is an Electronics and Communications Engineer by profession, but deep inside, her heart is a nomad! She's a state champion debater, a public speaker, a scriptwriter, a theatre actress, but most importantly — A GREEN CITIZEN! She thinks of herself as a storyteller who thrives on enjoying the life at fullest and telling everyone the tales of life.

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