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Solar developments spurring UK economy

Words: Huw Morris
A house with solar panels

A total of 1031MW of solar power was installed in the UK last year, creating 14,000 full-time jobs, according to a survey for the government today.

The poll, by the BRE National Solar Centre for the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), revealed that 521MW was installed through projects of less than 1MW, "assumed to be predominantly building-installed solar".

A further 510MW was introduced in schemes above 1MW, which were ground-mounted solar schemes.

This led to the creation of 14,000 jobs across both installation bands. The BRE said as the majority of solar installations were domestic, this sector created the greater number of jobs - 20 jobs per MW compared to seven jobs per MW installed for larger ground-mounted schemes.

"Previous attempts by the industry to accurately calculate job numbers were largely unsuccessful as many solar installers carry out other types of work as well" said Jonny Williams, associate director of the BRE National Solar Centre. "We solved the problem by developing our own methodology, enabling us to relate actual job numbers to product quantities installed in 2013 and recorded by DECC and Ofgem."
The survey also helped to identify the value of the solar market to the UK in 2013 as being "potentially to the order of hundreds of millions of pounds". The DECC will use the survey to quantify the economic impact of solar in a strategy to published in the next few weeks.