The skies above the United Kingdom made for not only a beautiful day last Friday, but also record breaking performance for solar generation.
It is estimated that during this time, 60 percent of the nation’s power was coming from alternative energy. This is high above the average number of 50 percent. To be specific, at 1 pm, 24.3 percent of power was being generated by solar energy alone, at a rate of 8.7 GW. This broke the previous record of 8.48 GW set earlier in May.
Solar power’s recent surge in popularity in the United Kingdom is nothing new; over the last seven years, the total capacity of the nation has grown from zero to 12 GW. Even more surprising is the fact that in the summer of 2016, solar power outperformed all of the country’s coal burning power plants. This trend is only expected to continue, as April of 2017 saw the first working day since the induction of coal in 1882 that the British did not require the resource to power their cities and towns.
University of Sheffield’s Alastair Buckley, an expert in the field, has reason to believe that solar is not soon to slow down despite cuts to subsidy programs by the British government. The snowball effect is already too powerful to stop, it seems.
Hannah Martin of Greenpeace hopes the government will be more willing to support the green energy supply in the future thanks to the performance seen recently. She states, “Today’s new record is a reminder of what the UK could achieve if our government reversed its cuts to support for solar…”
It bears reminding that solar power generation is largely dependent on the weather of the day, but as capacity increases throughout the globe, opportunities for storage will only increase as well.