How likely is that the UK is producing electricity from sunlight? If such a question was raised in other European countries it is likely that the initial response would be that the chances are low. However, the fact is that in 2014 the UK led the installation of photovoltaic (PV) Solar in Europe, finishing first ahead of Germany and within the top 10 globally.
UK Solar PV Capacity in Numbers
In 2014 the UK added over 2GW of Solar PV capacity. This is more than any other country in Europe, including Germany, and most countries around the globe. The chart below shows the UK Cumulative Solar PV Capacity in MW since 2010 .
Figure 1: UK Cumulative Solar PV Capacity (MW)
So, within 4 years the UK’s Solar PV capacity increased almost 54 times. At the end of 2010 the UK’s Solar PV capacity was 0.1 GW and grew to under 1GW by the end of 2011. From the end of 2011, growth was significant with the capacity almost doubling by the end of 2012. In 2013, the UK almost reached 3GW and finished second in Europe, behind Germany. By the end of 2014, over 2GW were added and the UK finished first in Europe, with Germany being second. Currently the total capacity exceeds 5.1GW.
Approximately a third of the capacity is concentrated to the southwest. The total capacity is comprised of domestic/residential rooftop, commercial rooftop and ground mounted arrays. The latter PV installations are those that are likely to comprise approximately 50% of the capacity .
Government scenarios mention that more than 10 GWp of Solar PV could be installed in the next few years whilst the DECC have mentioned that the UK has the potential to install up to 20 GWp in the next decade .
In 2014, the UK was the most important Solar PV market in Europe and within the top 10 globally. The total capacity has exceeded 5GW and there is potential for significant GW growth in the next few years.
 Department of Energy & Climate Change (February 2015): Solar photovoltaic deployment. (Last accessed 17/03/2015).
 Colville, F. (January 2014): UK solar PV demand reached 1.45GW in 2013: large-scale grows by 600%. (Last accessed 17/03/2015).
 Department of Energy & Climate Change (April 2014): UK Solar PV Strategy Part 2. (Last accessed 17/03/2015).