The latest data from Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) shows that the three months to the end of March 2023 has seen the most small-scale renewable installations of solar PV technologies, heat pumps and battery storage since Q4 2015.
The latest figures from the MCS Data Dashboard show that 60,004 installations were completed in Q1 2023. In March 2023, MCS recorded a total of 20,868 installations, which was the ‘highest performing March’ since 2012 and the second consecutive month in which the number of installations had exceeded 20,000.
Solar PV technologies accounted for 85% of installations in Q1 2023, the highest deployment since Q4 2015. The figure represents a 114% increase on the number of solar PV installations for the same period in 2022. It is also a 94% increase on installations during the first quarter of 2019, which marked the end of the government’s Feed-in Tariff (FiT) incentive – 26,089 installations during this period.
In particular, the number of solar PV installations in March 2023 was 73% higher than March 2022 and represented the highest monthly deployment of the technology since December 2015, during the height of the FiT.
The uptake in heat pump technologies remains high since the launch of the government’s Boiler Upgrade Scheme (BUS) in Spring 2022, which has now been extended to 2028.
There were 8,790 installations of heat pumps in the first three months of 2023, which makes it the second highest quarter for heat pumps in the scheme’s history. A total of 3,176 heat pumps were installed in March 2023, a 10% increase on the previous month and the third-most successful month for heat pump deployment on record.
Battery storage enjoyed its best quarter for installations in the scheme to date, with 351 systems installed in total – over 50% of the scheme total (621 installations) to date. Battery storage is the newest installation standard that MCS has introduced for its certified contractors, it said, reflecting consumers’ growing interest in self-consumption and electrical storage systems in combination with solar PV.
Overall, 449 new MCS certified contractors joined the scheme in Q1 2023, representing 13% of the 3,337 contractors on the scheme in total. The number joining the scheme in Q1 2023 is the highest in a three-month period since Q4 2011.
In Q1 2023, 359 contractors joined MCS to deliver solar PV, a 385% increase on the same period in 2022. Total heat pump contractors increased by 95 in the same period.
A total of 2,286 contractors are now certified to install solar PV, compared with 1,366 in Q1 2022 – a 66% increase.
Conversely, 1,494 contractors are now certified to design and install heat pump technologies, a 17% increase on Q1 2022.
Ian Rippin, CEO of MCS, said: “The year has got off to a remarkable start as our robust, near-real-time data demonstrates how we are playing a vital role in domestic decarbonisation.
“As more people look to decarbonise their homes, installation quality of small-scale renewables is vital, so it’s encouraging to see the record growth in MCS certified contractors. Solar PV deployment continues its exponential rise, as more talent enters the sector to service huge consumer interest in this cost-saving, proven, low-carbon technology.
“As well as the demand for solar PV, we are reassured by the extension to the BUS until 2028, which aligns with what we hear from our ever-expanding heat pump contractor base. They are ready to invest in and develop their businesses but need the certainty that comes from the comfort of long-term, supportive government policies.
“With heat pump installations and contractor numbers at an all-time high, the BUS remains a critical part of the drive to make home-grown energy more accessible and affordable. Though, there is still more to be done to promote the benefits of the BUS and low-carbon home heating to homeowners in general.
“With the energy crisis still very prevalent, consumers face hard decisions, so we hope these statistics provide businesses and consumers with the confidence to invest in home-grown energy to make greener choices, resulting in homes that are warm, comfortable, affordable to run and fit for a low-carbon future.”