UK sets new solar power record of 24.3% of demand on May 26 | RenewEconomy

UK sets new solar power record of 24.3% of demand on May 26

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UK broke a solar power record for the second time this month last Friday.

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Friday, May 26, was a beautiful late spring day in the UK. All that sunshine led to the nation breaking a solar power record for the second time this month. Total solar power generation amounted to 8.7 gigawatts or 24.3% of demand for a period of time (midday). The previous solar power record for the UK was 8.48 gigawatts set earlier this month.

The record amount of power from sunlight helped to make ~60% of the electricity on the grid at that time from low- or zero-carbon sources — wind, solar, and nuclear.

In the US and Australia, energy advocates with a political ax to grind allege that too much renewable energy dangerously destabilizes the electrical grid, but the UK grid operator, National Grid, said it was unfazed by the challenge of accommodating “significant volumes” of renewables.

Duncan Burt, who manages day-to-day operation of the grid, said: “We have planned for these changes to the energy landscape and have the tools available to ensure we can balance supply and demand,” as reported by The Guardian.

He said sunny weather over the British Isles this time of year is “really predictable, so easy to plan for,” and that the grid could handle a far greater proportion of solar power because it would allow natural gas generating facilities to be ramped down.

Robert Gross of Imperial College said: “This doesn’t pose a fundamental problem for the grid. Many sunnier countries manage a similar proportion of solar on a much more regular basis.”

Hannah Martin, head of energy at Greenpeace, told The Guardian, “Today’s new record is a reminder of what the UK could achieve if our government reversed its cuts to support for solar, and backed the clean technologies that could provide jobs, business opportunities and plentiful clean energy for decades to come.” Indeed.

Even though the national government has reduced solar power incentives significantly, it is now at a point where it can more than compete against coal, natural gas, and nuclear facilities without incentives. The clean power revolution is now absolutely unstoppable.

Source: CleanTechnica. Reproduced with permission.

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  1. George Darroch 3 years ago

    How does this compare to the NEM record in sunny Australia?

    • Stewart Rogers 3 years ago

      Given there are 6GW of solar in Australia it’s likely higher than 5GW at peak time. That’a lot better 8.48GW given our population.

    • David Osmond 3 years ago

      According to AEMO data, peak solar generation on the NEM occurred on Nov 29, 2016 at a level of 3550 MW, which comprised 3315 MW of rooftop and 326 MW of large scale PV. That was 13.4% of NEM demand. On Nov 20 total PV was a bit lower at 3436 MW, but this represented 15% of NEM demand, which is the highest proportion so far.

  2. Barri Mundee 3 years ago

    Sun-poor US achieves 24% whilst sun-rich Oz only manages just over 3%.

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