The past few weeks were warm and sunny in the UK. This provoked the country‘s solar installation‘s to produce an all-time high amount of energy.
Over the course of the past few weeks, Britain has experienced unusually hot and sunny weather. As a result, the country‘s solar systems have been extremely productive, so that PV briefly took over gas as the UK‘s main power source (with a share of 27 percent) on Saturday, even if only for an hour.
Record-breaking week for solar power generation
Between 21 and 28 June, the figures were record-breaking: with 553 gigawatt hours of produced energy, this is the most productive week in British solar history – and solely thanks to the weather, as the number of new installations has been stalling for a year now. On five of those seven days, over 75 GWh were generated, which is a record in itself.
While, at least for now, nuclear and gas remain the most powerful electricity sources in Britain, these figures still show how far solar technology has come, considering that its contribution to the local energy mix was nearly non-existent only a few years ago. At the time being, the UK‘s total solar capacity is 12.8 GW.
National Grid optimistic about future
Albeit just very few new projects were added to the country‘s renewable energy capacities during the past year – in fact, there was only a 1,6 percent growth between May 2017 and May 2018 – National Grid, a major British gas and electricity utility company, are optimistic regarding the future. “During the past 12 months alone, we have seen renewable generation records broken,“ Duncan Burt, the company‘s director of system operations, said. „We expect this trend to continue, as technology advances and we find new ways to accommodate and manage more wind and solar power on our network.“
Solar experts agree despite cut in subsidies
National Grid are not alone with their optimistic view of the future. Dr Alastair Buckley, a solar expert at the University of Sheffield, told The Guardian that “this marks the start of subsidy-free solar being economically viable, and I genuinely believe we’ll see bigger changes to the electricity sector in the next 10 years than we’ve seen in the past 10.”
For these positive expectations to become true, these „bigger changes“ will have to happen, as recent subsidy cuts have caused a slow-down in solar‘s growth. This means that, for example, incentives for household-scale rooftop installations have been eliminated and will not be replaced. Meanwhile, some developers expressed that they are only mildly concerned, as they believe they might be able to continue without subsidies by increasing their project sizes.