Energy watchdog Ofgem released the figures for solar installations throughout the UK for 2010. The data provided interesting reading, specifically the effect of the free solar panel offers in areas such as Sheffield and Barnsley. The data also shows that the traditionally sunny Cornwall although having one of the highest number of installations during the year it was surpassed by Sheffield for total number of domestic solar panel installations.
South Yorkshire is not known for its sunny weather so the figures highlighting Sheffield as one of the highest number of installations of solar PV is surprising. The Ofgem data does not differentiate between paid for and free systems being installed so we can only guess at the reason for such high uptake.
Companies such as A Shade Greener have been offering free solar panels in Sheffield and other parts of South Yorkshire during the time the data was collected. They are one of the most prolific installers in the country let alone the region and so this would explain the skew in the figures.
It seems without the efforts of many of the private firms offering free solar panels the number of installation in the UK would be much lower. Even despite the governments effort to sabotage its own scheme it looks like the number of people taking up solar PV in 2011 should surpass the previous year.
If a growing number of local installers are to offer free panels we could see a spike in local take up of this technology as it has done in places like Sheffield. With the forthcoming launch of the renewable heat incentive it will be interesting to if RHI does the same for solar thermal as it has done for solar photovoltaics.
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