Sunday 10 November 2013

Heat and Power

Early signs of a rebalancing of the renewables market

The Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) November newsletter was recently released, and a graph caught the eye of the solarblogger.  It is reproduced below.

The total number of MCS registered installers has been falling for some time.  Companies registered to install photovoltaic (PV) solar technologies dominate the numbers, and since the painful tariff adjustments of 2011, the number of registered companies has been steadily falling.  In the last 12 months the number of solar PV installers has fallen from around 4,300 to around 3,000.

Two features of the scheme may mean that even these figures are an over-statement of the number of active PV installation businesses.

First, since businesses renew annually with the scheme, a company decision to exit a market can take some time to feed through into the figures.  Falling registration figures will trail by an average of six months.

Second, renewal is significantly less expensive than a new registration with the scheme.  This asymmetry causes business to retain their MCS registration even when they are not actively working in the market “just in case things pick up.” 

Industry colleagues estimate that around 10-25% of MCS registered PV installers are not actively selling solar PV.

But none of this is news.

The thing that really jumped off the page for the solarblogger was that while the registered PV installer numbers have continued to fall, the total has actually risen since August 2013. 

There has been an increase in the number of businesses registering to install heating technologies such as biomass, heat pumps and solar thermal. 

Details of the domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) were announced in July 2013.  This scheme pays households that install heat-generating renewable technology and will go some way towards rebalancing the UK government’s lopsided support for renewables.  A successful domestic RHI alongside a stable Feed in Tariff could deliver long term growth for both renewable heat and electricity.

It seems like industry might just be starting to believe in the RHI.