Fall comes after introduction of new requirement for buildings to meet a minimum energy performance standard

Solar electricity installations have plummeted 95% in just one week following the government’s introduction of a new requirement for buildings to meet a minimum energy performance standard before receiving subsidies for their solar power.

Figures from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) show that the number of solar installations on buildings dropped from 8,802 in the last week of March to just 430 in the first week of April - a fall of 95%.

The fall came after the government made it compulsory for buildings being fitted with the technology to meet a energy performance certificate rating of D or above as of 1 April to qualify for the solar feed-in-tariff.

Ray Noble, solar PV expert at the Renewable energy Association, said there had been a rush to get solar installed on projects that did not meet the new requirement prior to the cut off date.

“The installers have looked at the jobs which were on their books and got customers to push the button [early] on those projects, which would not be possible under the new requirement,” he said.

The fall is the third time the industry has experienced a dramatic rise and fall in work in the past six months.

First installations rocketed to meet a proposed deadline for installations to receive a higher feed-in-tariff in December 2011. Then, after that cut off date was ruled to be illegal, they rocketed in early March as the revised deadline of 3 March approached. Now installations have risen and fallen dramatically once again as the requirement to meet the new standard was introduced.

Noble said the dramatic fluctuations were causing instability. “It’s not a good way to run an industry,” he said.

A spokesperson for DECC said: “We want householders to take a whole house approach to cutting carbon and saving money on bills and that’s why we have put this in place.”