Domestic renewable energy installs rise 37% in ‘early signs’ of recovery

There are “early signs” of domestic renewable energy installations recovering, according to the MCS.

As restrictions imposed due to COVID-19 are lifted by the government, there are signs that the UK’s domestic renewable energy installation market may be recovering, MCS chief executive Ian Rippin said.

The MCS has been working with its stakeholder community to monitor the state of the market during the lockdown, finding in April that 90% of installers were being negatively impacted by COVID-19. Issues such as the supply of panels being slow, customer caution over onsite visits and postponements of jobs were cited as some of the impacts being felt by respondents to the MCS’ survey.

The average number of commissioned installations under the MCS scheme in the month fell 77.5% compared with February.

However, the average number of installations in May rose by 37% compared to April, with installers now reporting that following easing of lockdown restrictions they are starting to build pipelines back up and start work again.

Paul Leedham, director of Sheffield-based renewables and heating installer Matrix Energy Systems, said the company has “definitely become more agile” through the COVID-19 period and is now “entering this new phase leaner, fitter and with better processes and procedures”.

Matrix Energy Systems has now completed several heat pump installations and has a guaranteed pipeline of jobs.

Likewise, heat pump installer Thermal Earth are seeing “signs of recovery in terms of the level of enquiries across the board”.

“March and April was a worrying time for all, but since early May the situation seems to be improving across the industry. We hope that these enquiries turn into a solid pipeline of live projects in the coming months,” Thermal Earth’s director Nick Salini said.

There are reports of installers completing projects that were placed on hold due to the lockdown and pipelines expanding.

“There is no denying, our industry and our installers have been hit hard by this pandemic. We continue to monitor the installation data closely and currently this positively shows a consistently improving picture,” MCS’s Rippin added.