South leads the way for adoption of renewables in England last year


The South led the way for renewable energy installations in England in 2023, according to new data from Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS).

The data revealed that Cornwall had the most installations of any local authority area in England with 4,890 in total, its second-best year to date. In total, these produced an estimated annual generation of over 37mWh.

There have now been 36,081 certified installations in Cornwall since records began in 2008, it cited, representing an estimated 1.92% of households. It also saw the highest number of heat pump installations of any region with 1,555.

South Cambridgeshire saw a total of 1,619 certified installations in 2023, 2.42% of households. The data found that 84% of its installations last year were solar PV, with 1,377 households opting for solar power, the highest number in the country.

Winchester achieved its best year for installations with 1,083 in total, it noted, representing 2.09% of households in the area. It had 953 solar PV installations, placing it second in the country for all-time uptake as 1.84% of households now have solar installations.

Last year was also positive for South Hams, which now has 2.05% of households with renewable installations, making it currently the fourth highest local authority for all-time uptake.

South Norfolk had its second-best year ever for certified installations in 2023, with 1,208 in total. Since records began in 2008 there have been 9,179 installations of renewable technology, with an uptake of 1.97%, 77% of their total installations are solar PV.

The data from MCS revealed that, overall, nearly 175,000 small-scale renewables were installed across England in 2023, a 32% increase on 2022 that brings the nation’s all-time installation count to 1,378,870.

That represents over 5.7% of households with a certified renewable installation, placing it behind Wales and Scotland, which have 8.4% and 8.2% of households with installations respectively.

A statement said that 2023 was a positive year for policies designed to encourage further uptake of renewable technology in England, with the grant value for air source heat pumps and ground/water source heat pumps increasing from £5,000 to £7,500 under the Boiler Upgrade Scheme (BUS).

Average weekly applications for BUS vouchers went from 331 to 1,172 after the government’s announcement in October and the figures for January showed a 39% year-on-year increase. There was further good news in December with the announcement of an additional £1.5bn in funding for BUS until 2028, which will allow for an additional 200,000 vouchers for homeowners across England and Wales.

Ian Rippin, CEO of MCS, said: “It has been an interesting year for the adoption of renewables in England with Cornwall leading the way and topping the table. Based on the total number of installations these produced an estimated annual generation of over 37mWh, enough energy to make each person in Cornwall nine cups of tea a day for a year.

“We are optimistic for the year ahead which will be supported by some key policy drivers including the increase in BUS grant values as well as the removal of VAT from renewables. Both of these makes the technologies more accessible and affordable for homeowners across the UK.”  

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