Solar firms report huge jump in business in what is likely to be the last month of the current tariff rate

The number of solar power schemes installed each week has rocketed 300% since before the FITs rate cut announcement, figures from the Department for Energy and Climate Change reveal.

At the end of October the government unveiled plans to halve the feed-in tariff, which is paid to people who generate their own solar power, from April for all installations registered after 12 December.

Last week, the number of installations reached a new record of 21,018 compared with 5,242 in the last week of October, which was the highest week on record at the time.

In the six weeks since the government announced the planned changes, 66,910 installations have been registered for a Microgeneration Certificate, the first stage in the FITs application process.

The number of installation carried out in November and early December is a 141% increase on those carried out in the six weeks preceding the announcement, when there were only 27,721 certificates issued.

John Cave, sustainable products manager for builders merchant EH Smith, said: “The first week after the announcement we had £3m of orders [for solar panels] - six times its normal level.”

However, he said that business was starting to return to normal levels.

Josh Kaushal, contracts manager for builder and solar panel installer BNK Construction, said his business had also experienced a boost since the announcement. “It just shows how desperate people are to get these things on the roof before a good deal goes away.

“Our business has probably increased 50% and I’m sure that will get down to zero after 12 December,” he added.