Clear, bright conditions have enabled Great Britain to break its record for peak solar generation twice in two days, National Grid has confirmed.
Solar output reached 9.47GW at around noon on Monday (13 May), surpassing the previous high of 9.38GW set in May 2017. The following day this figure was eclipsed again as solar generation reached 9.55GW at around 12.30pm.
On both occasions, solar was supplying more than a quarter of Britain’s electricity – 26 per cent on Monday and 26.7 per cent on Tuesday – according to the electricity system operator at National Grid.
Solar Trade Association (STA) director of advocacy and new markets, Leonie Greene, commented: “It is impossible to argue with the numbers. The bright clear skies combined with mild temperatures means solar has consistently met big portions of electricity demand throughout recent days.
“Days like these show that the technology can deliver clean, affordable power in abundance. We now need government to provide a level playing field with other technologies and then solar can thrive without public support. Currently solar in the UK faces a plethora of barriers which have dramatically slowed deployment.
“The sobering reports out recently from the International Energy Agency and the International Monetary Fund show fossil fuels subsidies are rising globally as renewables investment stagnates. Every country now needs to buck that trend and particularly the UK given we still lag behind the EU average for renewable energy.”
Earlier this month, the power grid operated without any domestic coal generation for over a week, the longest stretch recorded since 1882.
Last week, the chief executive on the Committee on Climate Change warned that the reduction of government support for renewable generation will hinder the country’s ability to hit the 2050 net zero target.
However, according to EY’s latest Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Index, the UK has retained its position as the world’s eighth most attractive destination for investment in renewables.
The latest Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) public attitudes tracker has found support for renewable energy is at an all-time high. Solar was the most popular form of renewable generation, with an approval rating of 89 per cent.