Record numbers of solar panels and heat pumps were installed in Welsh homes and businesses last year.
2023 saw more than double the amount of certified renewable installations in Wales than the previous year, bringing the total number of Welsh homes and businesses with renewable energy to over 100,000. 2023 was also the first year that installations rose above 20,000 in a single year, according to the MCS database of certified installations.
Solar panels made up the majority of the new renewable energy, with 14,730 MCS-certified installations across Wales. This represents a twelve-year high and is the highest level since Feed-In Tarriff grants were cut in 2011.
But the largest increase was in the heat pump sector, with a 147% increase in certified installations between 2022 and 2023. Experts at the MCS Foundation, which compiled the figures, said that Government grants introduced in 2022 have helped drive the rise in uptake. Households can now get £7,500 off the cost of a heat pump under the Boiler Upgrade Scheme, with applications for the grants rising rapidly.
Grants available for homeowners via the Welsh Government’s Nest scheme have also helped with the rollout of renewables. The Nest scheme is coming to an end, and is due to be replaced by a new scheme with a greater focus on low carbon technologies for the home.
Nearly one-in-ten households in Wales now have MCS-certified renewable installations, the highest proportion anywhere in the UK.
David Cowdrey, Director of External Affairs at the MCS Foundation, said: “The rapid rise of renewables in Wales is good news for people’s energy bills and for the climate.
“However, while the upward trend is encouraging, we need to be installing many more heat pumps, much faster, to meet climate change targets. Government policies like mandating heat pumps in all new-build homes and reducing the price of electricity so that heat pumps are guaranteed to be cheaper to run than a gas boiler will help to increase uptake.”
Nick Salini, Director of heat pump installer Thermal Earth, said “It is positive to see the increased uptake of renewables in Wales. Heat pumps are the future of home heating systems and viable in every type of building with correct design and installation.
“While this growth is welcome, we need significantly higher growth to get anywhere near the long term targets set by UK Government and reduce our national dependency on fossil fuels. In addition to installation financial support such as the BUS, we need lower electricity costs for heat pumps to further increase the running cost savings and more positive messaging of the advantages heat pumps offer homeowners to transition to away from traditional fossil fuel systems.”