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New Solar Capacity Dries Up

August 1, 2018

By Paul Homewood




Subsidies to new installations of solar power via the Renewable Obligation scheme were withdrawn with effect from April 2016, although schemes already in progress were given leeway.

The latest BEIS figures for new capacity additions show just how drastic the fall in new installations has been since. In the last 12 months, only 647MW of capacity has been added, giving a total installed capacity at March 2018 of 12.9GW.

Much of the capacity added in the last year is for projects in the pipeline before 2016, and therefore still eligible for subsidy.

The current situation seems even more dire. Provisional BEIS data says that only 21MW was added in April and May.


The National Grid’s Future Energy Scenarios project that we need up to 33GW of solar power by 2030 to keep on track for decarbonisation targets, but there seems little prospect of this if subsidies continue to be unavailable.


  1. Dave Ward permalink
    August 1, 2018 7:55 am

    And across the North Sea:

    “From “Solar Valley To Death Valley”… How Germany’s Solar Industry Imploded”

  2. August 1, 2018 8:07 am

    33GW of solar capacity would be a disaster on a sunny summer Sunday afternoon – total meltdown. So that’s one potential disaster inadvertently avoided.

    All renewable capacity has dried up (except offshore). Since 2003 RegenSW (now re-labelled Regen) used to produce an annual progress report informing us of the fantastic renewable energy progress. It didn’t produce a report in 2017 and this year’s report is now due. All the old progress reports seem to have disappeared from their new website. They are obviously embarrassed at the complete collapse of their subsidised “industry” and daren’t report the facts anymore.

  3. bobn permalink
    August 1, 2018 9:22 am

    Yes. Small scale wind generation has disappeared too. Arguably one of the more sensible and desirable forms of generation, small turbines up to 15mw/h on small masts up to 20m for setup on farms and factories etc to augment their own power needs. The suppliers and maintainers have pretty much disappeared. A farmer friend who has a small turbine on an 15m mast cannot find anyone to do maintainance. The websites are still there but no-one answers the phone or email.

    • Peter Schofield permalink
      August 1, 2018 9:42 am

      How long, I wonder, before it will be cheaper to run a diesel generator than pay for mains electricity ?

    • August 1, 2018 10:37 am

      What is 15mw/h?

      A lot of farmers around here were complaining (long before the subsidies dried up) that they were fed up with their rusting turbines as they weren’t generating the amount of electricity promised by the salesmen and hence weren’t getting the income they expected. Maintenance was a problem before the salesmen went out of business.

  4. Chilli permalink
    August 1, 2018 9:43 am

    Recently received a ‘Solar Together’ mail shot from the local council – inviting all residents to sign-up for a free survey and quote for a group-purchased solar installation. Back when the feed-in tariff was >40p/KWH you could make a decent return on the investment – if you could afford to lock your money away for 10-15 years before payback. But with the feed-in tariff now at 4p/KWH I can’t see them getting many takers.

  5. Bitter@twisted permalink
    August 1, 2018 9:50 am

    But, but I thought this form of energy generation was competitive?

    • Graeme No.3 permalink
      August 1, 2018 11:54 am

      Not only it is so cheap that the advocates for renewables are embarrassed to let people put their money in lest those investors make so much money that they will becomes a bit unbalanced. Either that, or these schemes are dead ducks.

  6. MrGrimNasty permalink
    August 1, 2018 12:28 pm

    How ironic, June/July this year would have been ideal for solar!

    MetOff seems to have decided July 2018 was 3rd warmest in CET.

    1976 18.7C
    1783 18.8C
    2018 19.1C
    1983 19.5C
    2006 19.7C

    • Chilli permalink
      August 1, 2018 1:00 pm

      Yup – the one drawback from all the nice weather – the subsidy farmers that jumped on Labour’s 45p/kWH give away FIT will be coining it in at our expense with all this sunshine.

  7. Vanessa permalink
    August 1, 2018 2:15 pm

    Does this mean that Kent will NOT be covered in solar panels after all ? As I remember someone said “wildlife be damned” when it was criticised.

  8. Jon Scott permalink
    August 2, 2018 5:03 am

    The reason for this is so simple and clear except for those who cannot do the sums…..a significant part of the current climate cult following

  9. Jon Scott permalink
    August 2, 2018 5:07 am

    Because it does not work. The REAL industry is a criminal one, making profit on the back of a scam. Any income from electricity generated is inconsequential compared to the lively prifits from the subsidies.

  10. August 2, 2018 7:23 am

    Reblogged this on Climate Collections.

  11. August 2, 2018 9:50 am

    Reporting intermittent energy (aka. Renewables) by Capacity addles the minds of politicians as they are quite incapable of dividing by 4.

    • Chilli permalink
      August 2, 2018 3:24 pm

      You need to divide capacity by 10 in the case of solar.

      • August 2, 2018 4:13 pm

        Should have thought of that Chilli. Quite frankly I do not know what a 1MW solar facility means, other than it is a blot on the landscape and needs a 1MW gas generator to make it viable.

  12. August 3, 2018 4:24 am

    In remote bits of Australia, solar power can make economic sense during daylight hours, but in the sun-deprived UK. where even on a good summer day, the sky is pale blue and hazy, it is economically defunct. Further, anywhere, at night, solar power is as dead as a dodo.

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