Solar and the UK are not words that are readily associated. But improbable as it may seem, solar power became – albeit briefly – the biggest power source in the UK last week – overtaking for the first time gas generation, and of course nuclear. There was zero coal power.
At the time – 2.12pm local time on Saturday, June 30 – solar provided a little more than 27.7 per cent of the country’s electricity, benefiting from a heatwave that had swept the nation for nearly a week.
According to this chart above from Electric Insights,solar just shaded gas at that point, with nuclear providing 22.8 per cent, wind providing 10 per cent, biomass 4 per cent and coal a big fat zero. imports and storage accounted for 8 per cent.
The heatwave meant that solar reportedly delivered some other records – generating more than 75GWh on five of the seven days and hitting more than 8GW for eight consecutive days.
It’s the sort of thing – solar being the dominant energy supply – that you would expect to see in Australia, which prides itself on its solar resource.
Instead, it is probably only found on some rare days in South Australia, where rooftop solar can at times provide 36 per cent of the state’s demand. If wind was also pulling its weight, that could relegate gas to second or third place.
Still, South Australia can lay claim to having wind energy provide the equivalent of 100 per cent of its electricity at certain times.
That occurred this week (Tuesday) on several occasions in South Australia.
At 4am and 11pm, the state’s wind output matched the state’s total demand, and at 1pm the combination of wind and rooftop solar, and a small contribution for the yet incomplete Bungala solar plant, which will be Australia’s biggest, exceeded state demand.