Solar Panel Statistics UK

Increased demand for renewable energy sources to help decrease reliance on traditional fuels and reduce carbon footprints, coupled with supportive government policies, have led to increased solar panel adoption across the UK.

Solar power is clean, cheap, and renewable, and it can offer significant savings while helping protect the environment from carbon emissions.

The government has set ambitious targets to increase solar capacity to 40 GW by 2030, and adoption is crucial to transitioning to sustainable energy.

As the energy crisis and climate change worsen, there’s never been a better time to stay updated on sustainable power sources like solar energy.

This guide presents key statistics on solar panel adoption in the UK and the world so you can better understand the growing trust in solar technology and its role in transitioning to clean energy.

Key Takeaways:

  • As of February 2024, there were1,468,652 solar panel installations across the UK
  • 90% of the public supports solar panel adoption
  • The South region of the UK leads in solar panel installations
  • Residential installations represent the bulk of solar PV adoption
  • Increased adoption can create more than 42,000 new jobs by 2030

How Many People Have Adopted Solar in the UK?

The UK has witnessed significant solar PV adoption over the past decade, with government data showing a total of 15.8 GW solar capacity distributed across 1,468,652 installations as of February 2024. The figures show a significant increase of 874 MW or 5.9% since February 2023.

February 2024 also saw increased adoption rates, with 14,045 new installations accounting for 60 MW of the total solar capacity.

These installations were the highest since November 2023 but were still lower than those registered at the beginning of that year.

Data on solar PV deployment also shows that 191,524 installations came online in 2023, the second-highest number in any year, exceeded by 2011 only.

Such trends show the public’s growing trust in solar technology and the country’s commitment to increased adoption of renewable energy.

Related solar guides:

How Much of the UK’s Renewable Energy is Solar?

The UK aims to reach net zero by 2050, and renewable energy adoption is crucial to the strategy.

Renewable sources used to power the UK include wind, hydroelectric, bioenergy, and solar.

National grid data shows that 2020 was the first year in the UK where electricity predominantly came from renewable energy, with 43% of the power coming from a mix of solar, wind, bioenergy, and hydroelectric sources.

The UK produced its trillionth kilowatt hour (kWh) of electricity generated from renewable sources in 2023, and solar power contributed 4.9% to the mix.

According to the Government’s Energy Trends Report 2024, solar power contributed 1.3 GW to the total 2.7 GW capacity increase in 2023.

What is the Attitude Towards Solar Panels?

A 2023 government survey on heat and energy shows that 66% of all respondents and 70% of people living in owner-occupied homes would likely consider installing solar panels in their homes in the next few years.

32% of people living in owner-occupier homes said they would consider installing solar panels, 30% said they would probably do so, and 7% already had them installed.

A report by Solar Energy UK about public attitudes towards renewable energy technology shows that solar energy is hugely popular.

Support is consistently high, with polling results showing that 90% of the public supports solar. Solar farms also have good support, strengthening over time among people living near them as they recognize their benefits.

Homeowners also consider installing solar panels as the third most significant home improvement priority after fitting a new bathroom, kitchen, or windows.

Which Regions in the UK Lead in Solar Panel Adoption?

According to the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS), the South leads in renewable energy installations like solar panels.

Cornwall had the highest number of installations in 2023, reaching 4,890 in total and generating over 37mWh.

South Cambridgeshire was second, with a total of 1,619 certified installations. 84% of the installations were for solar power in 1,377 households, the highest number in the country.

Winchester followed with 953 solar PV installations, ranking it second in the country for uptake, as 1.84% of households now have solar power.

Reports by the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) also show that countryside households are leading the way in generating solar power.

According to the data, rural constituencies have enough domestic solar panels to generate 12.5 megawatts (MW) of energy yearly compared to 4.5 MW in urban areas.

What is the Rate of Adoption in the Residential Sector?

Government data on solar PV deployment shows that domestic or residential installations represent the bulk of solar PV adoption in the UK.

In February 2024, 83% of new solar systems were installed in residential buildings, accounting for 77% of the new capacity or 46MW.

More people are turning to solar PV to generate their power at home as electricity prices continue to rise.

Research by the Renewable Energy Institute shows that 2023 saw a record number of domestic green energy installations, with over 17,000 households installing solar panels monthly.

Thanks to technological advancements that make solar panels more efficient and reliable and the increased adoption of smart home technologies, solar power demand will grow in the residential sector.

Increased Solar Panel Adoption Means More Jobs

Increased solar PV adoption and installations create more jobs and stimulate economic growth.

According to Solar Energy UK, the solar industry employs around 6,500 people across a wide range of jobs in the country, with analysis indicating it can increase to more than 42,000 if the UK commits to 40GW of solar by 2030.

The demand for workers in the solar PV sector will increase as adoption increases and the solar PV industry continues to grow.

Deploying 100GW by 2050 can create more than 100,000 new jobs, with a significant portion of these jobs being in manufacturing, installation, and project development.

Thanks to the solar PV industry’s distributed nature, jobs will be spread across the entire UK and not concentrated in one region.

The skills gained are also transferable to the fast-growing global renewable sector.

Final Thoughts on Key Statistics on Solar Panel Adoption

Solar panel adoption in the UK has increased and will continue upward, reflecting a promising transition to a more sustainable energy landscape.

Increased awareness of environmental concerns, technological advances, government policies, and the need to reduce the cost of energy are critical factors in the rise of solar panel adoption.

Sources used in this article:

  • https://committees.parliament.uk/writtenevidence/113682/pdf/#:~:text=Solar%20Energy%20UK%20estimates%20that,target%20of%2040GW%20by%202030.
  • https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/solar-photovoltaics-deployment
  • https://www.nationalgrid.com/stories/energy-explained/how-much-uks-energy-renewable
  • https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/6604304ff9ab410011eea3e1/Energy_Trends_March_2024.pdf
  • https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/6509ed08a41cc30014561443/DESNZ_PAT_Summer_23_Heat_and_energy_in_the_home.pdf
  • https://solarenergyuk.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/Briefing-Energy-Security-Strategy-2022.pdf
  • https://mcscertified.com/the-south-leads-for-adoption-of-renewables-in-england-last-year/
  • https://www.cpre.org.uk/news/countryside-ahead-on-rooftop-solar-but-englands-full-potential-overlooked/
  • https://www.renewableinstitute.org/uk-solar-panel-and-heat-pump-installations-at-a-record-high/