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Surge in UK solar energy output, says Carbon Brief

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Surge in UK solar energy output, says Carbon Brief

Analysts at Carbon Brief have claimed that UK Solar energy generated 50 per cent more electricity than coal last month.

According to Carbon Brief’s estimates, solar power accounted for nearly six per cent of the UK’s total electricity needs, against less than four per cent for coal.

Solar generated an estimated 1,336 gigawatt hours (GWh) of electricity this May, compared to just 893GWh output from coal, Carbon Brief said.

If accurate, the May 2016 figures could potentially represent a UK first.

Experts believe that the results estimated were facilitated by an increase in solar energy availability and capacity in recent months, combined with a slow collapse in the use of coal – which Carbon Brief claims fell to its lowest point in 55 years in 2015.

Once the mainstay of Britain’s power base, pollution and climate change concerns have led to the implementation of stricter restrictions on coal power stations and their operating hours.

Coal capacity typically makes up more than a quarter of baseload capacity, yet unabated coal is set to be phased out by 2025 by the UK Government – a proposal which green Conservatives have urged should take effect two years earlier.

Furthermore, the cost of solar panels has fallen in recent years, leading to increased interest and investment in solar energy across the UK.

Commenting on Carbon Brief’s estimated solar energy figures, Juliet Davenport, chief executive of renewable electricity supplier Good Energy: “This is fantastic news and marks an historic turning point in the way Britain is powered.

“Solar has transformed the way the UK has sourced electricity in recent years, with more than 750,000 homes now generating their own energy from the sun.

“It’s a great cause for celebration as it’s helped show us that our future can be truly fossil fuel-free.”