Solar Panels (Industrial Report) - UK - November 2014
“The UK solar panels market saw a shift in focus from roof-top to large-scale ground mounted installations in 2013 and even more so in 2014. However, with policy changes coming into force in April 2015, activity over the coming years is set to centre around midscale buildingmounted, commercial and industrial onsite generation and domestic deployment. Due to frequent government policy changes and the next general election coming up in May 2015, there is also a degree of uncertainty about the focus of the market in the long term. Nonetheless, the industry has so far proved to be resilient and adaptable to any changes in the market landscape and is expected to continue to do so, despite these uncertainties.”
– Claudia Preedy - Industrial Analyst
This report addresses the following key questions concerning the UK solar panels market:
- How has the UK solar panels market performed in recent years?
- How have the different types of solar panel deployment been developed over recent years? (roof-top, ground-mounted, etc.)
- How do government policies shape the development of the market?
- How have key players in the market performed in recent years?
- What is the outlook for the UK solar panels market for the next five years?
The terms of reference for this report concern the UK solar panels market.
Solar power is the conversion of sunlight into electricity, either directly using photovoltaics (PV), or indirectly using concentrated solar power (CSP). Concentrated solar power systems use lenses or mirrors and tracking systems to focus a large area of sunlight into a small beam. Photovoltaics convert light into electric current using the photoelectric effect. As of 2014, there are no CSP plants in the UK and none announced, with the market monopolised by photovoltaics.
PV cells are made from layers of semiconducting material, usually silicon. When light shines on the cell it creates an electric field across the layers. The stronger the sunshine, the more electricity is produced. Groups of cells are mounted together in panels or modules that can be mounted on a roof.
The power of a PV cell is measured in kilowatts peak (kWp), the rate at which it generates energy at peak performance in full direct sunlight during the summer. PV cells come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Most PV systems are made up of panels that fit on top of an existing roof, but solar tiles are also available.
Solar tiles are designed to be used in place of ordinary roof tiles. A system made up of solar tiles will typically cost around double an equivalent panel system, although there is a further saving on roof tiles or slates. Solar tile systems are not normally as costeffective as panel systems, and are usually only considered where panels are not appropriate for aesthetic or planning reasons.
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