NPD Solarbuzz forecasts that the U.K. will become the largest solar photovoltaic market in Europe this year, fueled by the rapid growth in ground-mounted solar PV farms. According to a new report by the market analysis firm, more than 120 large-scale solar PV farms in the U.K. have recently received project-planning approval, and many of them are targeting completion within the next 12 months.
By the end of April, more than 325 solar PV farms of 1 MW or larger had been completed within the U.K., with more than 60 different sites having an installed capacity in excess of 10 MW, the report says. An additional 444 large-scale ground-mounted solar PV farms are currently at various stages of planning in the U.K., with 124 having their planning applications approved. NPD Solarbuzz says a motivating factor in the quickening pace of project development is the impending reduction in the support for solar plants under the U.K.'s renewable obligation scheme in April 2015.
In addition to the opportunities arising from the multi-gigawatt pipeline of projects yet to be built, a thriving secondary market has developed for completed solar PV farms, the report says. Based on recent acquisitions of completed solar farms, the U.K.'s existing solar farm portfolio is valued at approximately $4.2 billion.
‘Establishing a large portfolio of solar PV assets has become an attractive long-term financial proposition within the United Kingdom,’ says Finlay Colville, vice president at NPD Solarbuzz. ‘The race is now on to develop and acquire solar PV farms, before the renewable obligations scheme is discontinued in 2017, or ahead of any legislative changes that may occur after the May 2015 general elections.’