2012 has been a very successful year for the solar industry, with many homeowners, businesses and community groups installing solar panels in order to reap the multiple advantages.

Ofgem has now released its annual Feed in Tariff report, documenting the number of solar installs and the rising popularity of the energy source.

The Feed in Tariff (FiT) was introduced in April 2010 and the figures document the fact that the industry has gone from strength to strength since the introduction of this financial incentive.

Documenting the second year of the scheme (covering April 1st 2011 to March 31st 2012), the figures highlight a significant rise in the number of installations. In the first year of the initiative, some 30,200 installations were recorded. This number leapt by an impressive 620 per cent to 217,741 installations in its second year.

The 217,741 installations registered under the FiT generated just under 500GWh of electricity. This is a 628 per cent increase over last year’s generation which was 68.6GWh.

Solar panels are not the only form of renewable energy covered by the government’s FiT but they did account for 99 per cent of all feed-in tariff-registered installs in the UK this year, according to Ofgem, illustrating their overall popularity.

The South West of the country saw the highest number of installations, with 18 per cent (44,593) of solar arrays fitted in the region. The South East followed closely behind with 16 per cent of all installations (38,764). The East of England came in third, with 27,515 or 11 per cent.

In March 2012, some 97 per cent of solar arrays registered to the FiT were domestic installations, with community projects making up just one per cent of all installations. This is a figure that is likely to have risen substantially by March 2013 as more and more groups are looking to install solar.

Solar popularity is continuing to increase as the costs around installing panels continue to decline and the costs of traditional energy continue to increase. 2013 will be an important year for the industry, as the government continues to strive to meets its solar targets.