MCS reports surge in demand for small-scale renewables for UK Homes 

MCS has announced a surge in small-scale renewable installations, including solar PV technologies, heat pumps, and battery storage, in the first quarter of 2023.  

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This period saw the most installations since Q4 2015:

  • Over 60,000 installations were completed in Q1 2023, the highest-performing quarter since Q4 2015.
  • Solar PV installations from January to March 2023 numbered 50,719, a 114% increase in the number of installations for the same period in 2022.
  • 8,790 heat pumps deployed in Q1 2023, the second-highest quarter for the technology in the scheme’s history.
  • The number of MCS-certified contractors is increasing as demand for renewable technologies continues, with a number of solar PV contractors rising by 66% in 12 months. 

Installation information and analysis 

The latest data from the MCS Data Dashboard reveals that 60,004 small-scale renewable installations, including solar PV technologies, heat pumps, and battery storage, were completed in the first quarter of 2023. Moreover, in March 2023, a total of 20,868 installations were recorded – the highest number for March since 2012 and the second consecutive month with over 20,000 installations. 

Solar soars

Solar PV technologies dominated the installations, accounting for 85% (50,719) of the completed installations in Q1 2023 – the highest number since Q4 2015. This represents a significant 114% increase compared to the same period in 2022 (23,747 installations) and a 94% increase from the first quarter of 2019, which marked the end of the Government’s Feed-in Tariff (FiT) incentive (26,089 installations). 

In particular, the number of solar PV installations in March 2023 (17,497) was 73% higher than in March 2022 and represents the highest monthly deployment of the technology since December 2015, during the height of the FiT. 

Heat pumps continue to rise

The popularity of heat pump technologies continues to rise after the government’s launch of the Boiler Upgrade Scheme (BUS) in Spring 2022, which has been extended to 2028. In the first quarter of 2023, there were 8,790 heat pump installations – the second-highest quarter for the technology in the scheme’s history. Moreover, March 2023 witnessed 3,176 heat pump installations, a 10% increase compared to the previous month and the third-most successful month on record for heat pump deployment. 

Battery storage

Battery storage enjoyed its best quarter for installations in the scheme to date, with 351 systems installed – over 50% of the scheme total (621 installations). Battery storage is the newest installation standard that MCS has introduced for its certified contractors, reflecting consumers’ growing interest in self-consumption and electrical storage systems in combination with solar PV.  

Growing green talent 

The first quarter of 2023 witnessed 449 new contractors joining the MCS scheme, making up 13% of the total 3,337 contractors. This number is the highest for three months since Q4 2011. Of these, 359 contractors joined the scheme to deliver solar PV – a 385% increase from the same period in 2022. Total heat pump contractors also increased by 95 in the same period. As of Q1 2023, a total of 2,286 contractors are certified to install solar PV – a 66% increase from Q1 2022. Conversely, 1,494 contractors are certified to design and install heat pump technologies – a 17% increase from 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 Boiler Upgrade Scheme (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. 

All-time high

“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,” he added.  

Ian continued: “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.”