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Good news on solar panel, EV charger, heat pump and battery storage uptake in Shalford and Guildford!

Last year (by which I mean 2023) I began to wonder how much solar PV was installed in the area, and whether it was a significant amount compared to the demand. I had a look on the UK Power Networks website and found that they provide data at what they call the “primary sub-station” level. For the Guildford and Shalford area, there are four relevant primary sub-stations:

  • Shalford

  • Merrow

  • Guildford A

  • Guildford B


Data is available on Low Carbon Technology devices (such as solar, EV charging points, batteries, heat pumps) connected to the network. This data is restricted to connections with a power rating of less than 1 MW, which in practice gives a good indication of take-up by households.[1]


Data is also available on the maximum winter and summer demand at primary sub-stations. Solar PV power output is at a maximum in the summer and for my own interest I have compared the output from panels against the maximum demand at primary sub-stations.


Recent uptake of solar panels


According to figures from UK Power Networks, the potential power output from solar panels attached to the Shalford primary sub-station increased by 28% from February to December (1.1MW to 1.4MW). At the end of December there were 311 connections to properties with solar PV. 


This represents about 13% of the maximum summer demand (10.7 MW).

 

For the Merrow region, potential power output increased by 11% since September (1.3MW to 1.5MW). At the end of December there were 359 connections to properties with solar PV. 


This represents about 14% of the maximum summer demand (10.8MW).


In both cases the annualised growth rate for power output is around 30% or 0.3MW. This may not be a reliable indicator of future growth, since the cost of panels continues to fall and there may be further grants and incentives that encourage increased take-up. I’m looking forward to the moment when solar PV provides all the electricity needs for the area!


Uptake of Heat Pumps, Batteries and EV charging points in Shalford area


This chart shows the uptake between March and December 2023. EV charging points and batteries have increased by about 50% but heat pumps have not grown as quickly. However, the pace of heat pump installations is most likely to increase due to:


  • The increase in the Boiler Upgrade Scheme (BUS) grant in October ’23, from £5,000 to £7,500, for installing a heat pump

  • The increase in installation companies with a proven track record

  • More positive press coverage

  • More and better first hand information from friends and relatives who are happy with their installation



What Next?


I’ll continue to monitor the addition of solar PV (also electric vehicle charger points, batteries and heat pumps) in the Guildford area. I’ll be looking out for evidence of accelerated uptake, due to, amongst other things, Solar Together and BUS grant increase. 


And next year I’ll repeat the analysis to show how much more progress has been made.


Here’s looking forward to another year of Low Carbon Technology connections!


If you're interesting in making changes to your home, such as installing solar PV or a heat pump, check out our Home Energy webpage.


[1] For instance, the Shalford primary sub-station area has 311 solar connections with a nominal power output of 1.4MW. This is on average 4.4kW per connection, or around 11 panels. That’s more panels than you usually see on a house, which suggests that there is a small number of large installations included in the figures. In fact, in the Peasmarsh area (included in the Shalford figures) there are two sites with around 100 panels each, which alone brings the average for the remaining 309 sites down to about 10 panels. There may be other large installations in the Shalford primary substation area.

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