PRESS RELEASE: UK solar peak generation record broken amid fall in pollution levels

Solar Trade Association
Immediate Release
21 April 2020

Clear skies and cool temperatures have helped UK solar to break the all-time peak generation record. Around 12:30 on Monday 20 April 2020, a peak of 9.68GW was recorded by Sheffield Solar live PV generation tracker, [1] surpassing the previous record of 9.55GW set on 14 May 2019. [2] At the time of the peak, solar was meeting almost 30% of UK electricity demand.

STA Chief Executive Chris Hewett said: “Ideal weather conditions and lower levels of pollution than normal mean solar is providing record levels of cheap, clean power to the grid. At a time when most of us are working remotely, we can say that solar is truly keeping the WiFi on.”

The UK is currently experiencing significantly lower than usual levels of pollution as a result of the COVID-19 lockdown. [3] This has contributed to clearer conditions, which, combined with relatively cool temperatures, provide optimal conditions for maximising solar PV efficiency. As the lockdown and good weather continues, it is expected that more solar generation records will be broken.

The abundance of solar power on the grid has also contributed to the lengthiest coal-free period for the grid in 2020 so far, with more than 11.5 days passed at time of writing. [4]

 

ENDS​

 

Editor’s notes:

[1] Sheffield Solar – PV_Live solar generation tracker. Recorded a figure of 9.68GW at 12:30pm on 20 April 2020. This figure may be subject to retrospective change and there is a 90% certainty that the exact figure will fall between 9.65GW-9.71GW: https://www.solar.sheffield.ac.uk/pvlive/#

[2] Solar Trade Association – Record broken as UK solar hits all-time generation peak of 9.55GW: https://www.solar-trade.org.uk/record-broken-as-uk-solar-hits-all-time-generation-peak-of-9-47gw/

[3] BBC – Coronavirus lockdown sees air pollution plummet across UK: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-52202974

[4] The Guardian – The power switch: tracking Britain’s record coal-free run:  https://www.theguardian.com/environment/ng-interactive/2019/may/25/the-power-switch-tracking-britains-record-coal-free-run

 

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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 both solar heat and power plus energy storage, and have a proven track record of winning breakthroughs for all three technologies.