Nearly 30,000 solar PV installations were registered with the Feed-in Tariff scheme last month as consumers dashed to beat the Government's proposed cut-off date of December 12 for the long-term, higher subsidy rate.
The official figures released this week show 29,480 solar installations were added to the FiT scheme in December, almost double the total for the previous month.
And data for the whole of 2011 show that half of the UK's entire installed renewable capacity was registered in November and December following the Government's October 31 announcement of planned cuts to the programme, which was later ruled unlawful in the High Court.
A legal bid by the Department of Energy and Climate Change to have the judgement overturned is expected to be heard by the Court of Appeal tomorrow.
In December, 183.9 MW of installed capacity across all renewable energy technologies at 29,608 installations, joined the scheme, the highest in one month, and 92.6 MW more than in November 2011.
The huge numbers represented an increase of 39 per cent in total cumulative installed capacity and 25 per cent in installation numbers in one month alone.
In terms of technology, the largest increase during December was predictably Solar PV, with an additional 180.1 MW of installed capacity at 29,480 installations added to the FiT scheme, again the highest in one month.
The largest contributor in terms of tariff codes under the Feed-in Tariff scheme was sub-4 kW retrofitted Solar PV, with 85 MW of installed capacity, or 28,208 installations, in December.
The year-end figures reveal that overall Britain’s solar capacity increased 10-fold last year, despite Government efforts to deter utility-scale solar farms with FiT cuts from last August.
Solar panels with a combined generating capacity of at least 761.9 mW were installed in 2011 compared with 76.8 MW in 2010. About two-thirds of the capacity and 95 percent of the projects were installed on homes.
Last year's installed capacity of 761.9 MW is in stark contrast to DECC's projections for 284 MW by April 2013 and 832 MW by April 2015. Only 32 MW of solar installations were operating at the end of 2009 before the tariff came into effect.