Solar panel installations across the UK are set to increase in 2013, the minister for climate change Greg Barker predicts.

Mr Barker believes that as the cost of manufacturing panels has been reduced, more people are expected to invest in solar energy, as these savings are passed down to consumers.

With more awareness about how the energy saving measure can have an impact on carbon emissions, alongside the long-term cost benefits that photovoltaic panels provide, the minister believes that businesses and homeowners are more likely to take up the option of cleaner energy.

The industry has seen a brief dark patch over the past few months, following changes to the feed in tariff programme set up by the government. There has been a reduction in the money offered from the scheme, due to the original figures being “unsustainable”.

However, the programme has since been balanced out, with Mr Barker suggesting that the current rates of returns from solar panels are now similar to the 2010 figures when the feed in tariff was first introduced.

In the UK, the current installed solar capacity totals 1.8GW. Mr Barker has detailed that the government aims to increase this capacity to over 20GW by 2020, with these future ambitions set to be supported by a projected increase in consumers taking advantage of lower cost solar installations.

Last week alone, a total of 1,500 solar panels were installed, representing a generation of 5MW. These early signs provide some hope that the industry is set to recover from a poor end to 2012.

Mr Barker said: “I know just how difficult recent months have been for many of you but the industry has come through this testing period – and has definitely emerged leaner, wiser and certainly larger!”