UK Smashes Solar Power Record

Photo-illustration: Pixabay

Solar power has broken records in Britain in Friday as the country basked in temperatures as high as 28 degrees.

According to the National Grid solar generation hit its highest ever level in Friday, delivering 8.7GW, the equivalent of 24.3 per cent of national demand.

That day figures sail past the previous record of 8.48GW for a half hourly period of solar output, set earlier this month.

It marked a day of record low-carbon generation, with experts suggesting 60 per cent of Britain’s lunchtime power use came from low-carbon sources.

The UK has 12GW of solar capacity installed and on sunny days regularly provides between 10 and 20 per cent of UK electricity demand.

National Grid’s Duncan Burt, who is responsible for control room operations, insisted the system is well equipped to handle the high volume of renewable power on the grid.

“We have planned for these changes to the energy landscape and have the tools available to ensure we can balance supply and demand,” he said in a statement. “It really is the beginning of a new era, which we are prepared for and excited to play our part”.

In Friday was the first time solar generated more power than nuclear energy, according to the Solar Trade Association (STA). “We were delighted that at around midday today 8.75GW was generated by solar, supplying nearly 25 per cent of the UK’s total demand,” STA CEO Paul Barwell said. “This is the first time that solar has generated more than nuclear, second only to gas.”

It is the latest in a string of clean energy landmarks this year for the electricity grid. In March the amount of electricity demanded by homes and businesses on one weekend afternoon was lower than it was in the night time for the first time ever, thanks to customers switching to using rooftop solar power instead of grid power.

Then in April the UK experienced another record-breaking weekend for clean power, with solar generating 26 per cent of grid electricity in England and Wales and wind generation hitting a peak of 20.59 per cent. Total renewable electricity generation also hit a record peak on the same weekend.