More UK Homes Than Ever are Turning to Low-carbon Technology
Recent data by MCS has revealed that more households in the UK are installing heat pumps and solar panels than ever before. Housing Industry Leaders explores the findings.

The data by MCS shows that in the first six months of 2023, more than 120,000 certified solar panels, heat pumps and other renewable technologies were installed in UK homes. This is the highest number ever by this point in the year.

Previously, the record for renewable installations was more than a decade ago in 2012, when households raced to get solar panels before cuts to the Feed-In Tariff incentive scheme began.

The UK must explore more sustainable technologies to reach net zero targets

MCS has revealed that June saw 27, 791 certified installations recorded on homes and businesses across the UK. Therefore, bringing the total for the first half of the year to 122,155. 2023 saw more installations in the month of June and in the first half of the year than any previous year.

In addition, 2023 is the first year to average more than 20,000 solar panel installations per month. It was also the first to see more than 3,000 heat pumps installed per month.

Analysts have said that with this sustained growth, nearly a quarter of a million households could install renewable energy by the end of this year.

Ian Rippin, CEO at MCS, explained that seeing this transition to using more sustainable technology will be key to reaching our decarbonisation targets: “We are pleased to report that the UK is on track for its strongest year ever for certified small-scale renewable technology installations.”

The home-grown energy you invest in for your home, or your business plays an ever more crucial role in the decarbonisation of UK buildings.

Continuing, he explained that the confidence of people in renewable technology needs to be amplified: “As the cost of energy continues to grow, we are seeing more people turn to renewable technology to generate their own energy and heat at home. We need to continue to push this expansion to meet our shared national ambitions to reach net zero by 2050.

“More consumers have the confidence to invest in small-scale renewables now than ever, but we have to make that transition even easier.”

Installations of solar PVs have been increased by 82 per cent

The data found that so far in 2023, over 80 per cent of the installations have been electricity-generating technologies, driven mainly by the continued growth in solar PV installations.

By the end of June, there were 102,797 certified installations of solar PV, with the first half of the year seeing 82 per cent more installations than the first half of 2022.

Small-scale renewable energy installations on homes and businesses across the UK now have a total installed capacity of 4 GW.

Last year, the energy demand for the entire UK averaged 29.4 GW a day, meaning that the solar panels and wind turbines on peoples’ homes, at peak conditions, could power over 13 per cent of the UK.

Since MCS introduced the battery storage installation at the end of 2021, the growth in solar has been mirrored by battery storage installation growth.

Each month of 2023 has been a record month for battery technologies, with installation figures surpassing the month before. This totals over 1,000 batteries going into homes and businesses across the UK in 2023 up to now.

There has been similar success in the growth of low-carbon heating, with the average heat pump installations being over 3,000 per month for the first time in 2023. In the first six months of the year, there were 17,920 heat pump installations.

Heat pump installations in England and Wales have been eligible for £5,000 – £6,000 government grants since May 2022 under the Boiler Upgrade Scheme.

These grants are starting to take effect as heat pump sales are steadily growing. In Scotland, consumers can claim a grant of £7,500-£9,000 towards a heat pump installation plus an additional optional loan of £7,500.

The government must provide investment to boost training opportunities

To see more low-carbon technology implemented in UK homes, one of the biggest challenges to be overcome is recruiting enough qualified, skilled installers to meet the demand.

Currently, there are now 1,500 certified heat pump installation companies in the UK. It is estimated that a total of 50,000 workers will be needed to meet the UK Government’s targets of installing 600,000 heat pumps annually by 2028.

MCS has revealed it is calling for the UK Government to expand the Boiler Upgrade Scheme and offer higher grant values and more vouchers annually. It has also been said that a boost in the investment in skills and training is needed to build up a workforce that is able to respond to the demand.

In addition, it is calling on the government to mandate solar panels, heat pumps, and battery storage in all new homes from 2025 under the new Future Homes Standard.