The UK solar industry has defied a period of low deployment in the UK and turned out in force at the Solar & Storage Live exhibition in Birmingham.

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Low residential deployment following the feed-in tariff cut is being replaced with social housing and community projects. Unsubsidised utility-scale development has begun with a multi-GW pipeline in the works.

“The feedback from exhibitors has been excellent with the right people turning up at the booths,” said Dominic Barklem, general manager at the event’s organiser Solar Media. “The storage sector is building an exciting future for itself and UK solar is, yet again, proving that it has the creativity to adapt and flourish, regardless of the challenges put down in front of it.

“There’s a buzz on the showfloor that is largely attributable to the confidence in the opportunity presented by solar and storage as it takes a greater role in the country’s energy future,” he added.

While recovery in the UK market has been talked about often, the high attendance at the show offers a tangible demonstration of the ongoing rebound.

“We did the show last year and were amazed at the numbers we got,” said Rob Marshall, UK sales manager at energy storage firm Narada Europe. “We came again this year expecting to be happy with half those numbers. We got more on the first day alone. I’ve never been to a show and had so many leads on the first day. We’re over the moon. I’ve been doing shows for 30 years and I’ve never been so busy as I have been at this show, this year and last,” added Marshall.

Narada has rebooked a larger stand at the show for 2018.

The first day saw 1,250 people flock to the NEC with conference sessions at standing room only on both Tuesday and Wednesday. More than 650 people had passed through the doors in the first two hours of Wednesday with total visitor numbers exceeding 1,200 expected in the run up to the Solar Power Portal Awards.

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