PRESS RELEASE: Record broken as UK solar hits all-time generation peak of 9.55GW

Solar Trade Association
Immediate Release
14 May 2019 (Updated 15 May 2019)

Particularly clear, bright and cool conditions have helped solar to break the all-time generation record for the technology in the UK. On May 13 2019, around noon, solar hit a generation peak of 9.47GW, surpassing the previous record of 9.38GW set in May 2017. That record was broken again on May 14 2019, with a generation peak of 9.55GW reached at around 12:30pm.

STA Director of Advocacy and New Markets Léonie Greene said; “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 allow solar to 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.” 

Solar in the UK is facing a number of challenging policy and regulatory issues, including proposed changes to the way reduced-rate VAT is applied to solar as an energy saving technology [1], a lack of clear and fair remuneration for small-scale power exports to the grid [2], unfair exclusion from secure government Contracts for Difference (CfDs), unfair business rates for organisations that install solar on their buildings and a glut of unhelpful charging regulation reforms proposed by Ofgem.

The IPCC has identified solar as the technology with the single biggest technical potential to tackle climate change [3], and it is the world’s largest clean energy market. [4] However, recent analysis from the IMF has found that global investment in renewables has plateaued [5], and global deployment of renewables stalled in 2018 following two decades of strong growth according to a recent report from the IEA [6].

In the UK, solar now provides ~4% of UK electricity. At its peak in 2015, the UK industry delivered over 4GW of solar and employed 34,000 people. Solar power democratises energy; it is owned by over 975,000 homes, businesses and communities.[7] Over 80% of community energy schemes feature solar power. It is the UK’s most popular source of energy, consistently topping the list in the BEIS Public Attitudes Tracker, scoring well over 80% on average and reaching a record 89% rating in the latest iteration [8].

The STA’s recent LCOE analysis shows that with stable support solar could hit less than £40/MWh before 2030 providing greater prosperity for households and competitiveness for UK businesses. [9]

ENDS

 

Notes to editors

This press release was updated on 15 May 2019 to reflect the new generation peak record of 9.55GW set on 14 May 2019.

[1] Industry associations call on HMRC to scrap proposed VAT changes for energy saving materials: https://www.solar-trade.org.uk/industry-associations-call-on-hmrc-to-scrap-proposed-vat-changes-for-energy-saving-materials/

[2] MPs back solar industry call for fair market payment: https://www.solar-trade.org.uk/press-release-mps-back-solar-industry-call-for-fair-market-payment/

[3] STA Comments on IPCC Special Report on 1.5C: https://www.solar-trade.org.uk/press-release-sta-comments-on-ipcc-special-report-on-1-5c/

[4] Renewables 2018 Global Status Report: http://www.ren21.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/17-8652_GSR2018_FullReport_web_-1.pdf

[5] Global Fossil Fuel Subsidies Remain Large: An Update Based on Country-Level Estimates: https://www.imf.org/en/Publications/WP/Issues/2019/05/02/Global-Fossil-Fuel-Subsidies-Remain-Large-An-Update-Based-on-Country-Level-Estimates-46509

[6] Renewable capacity growth worldwide stalled in 2018 after two decades of strong expansion: https://www.iea.org/newsroom/news/2019/may/renewable-capacity-growth-worldwide-stalled-in-2018-after-two-decades-of-strong-e.html

[7] Solar photovoltaics deployment: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/solar-photovoltaics-deployment

[8] BEIS Public Attitudes Tracker: Wave 29: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/beis-public-attitudes-tracker-wave-29

[9] Cost of UK large-scale solar could drop below £40/MWh by 2030: https://www.solar-trade.org.uk/cost-of-uk-large-scale-solar-could-drop-below-40mwh-by-2030/

 

For further information or to request an interview, please contact:

Name: Jack Dobson-Smith

Title: Public Affairs & Communications Officer

Main line: 0203 637 2946

 

Background on the Solar Trade Association:

The mission of the Solar Trade Association is to empower the UK solar transformation. We are paving the way for solar to deliver the maximum possible share of UK energy by 2030 by enabling a bigger and better solar industry. We represent solar heat and power plus battery storage, and have a proven track record of winning breakthroughs for solar PV and solar thermal.