UK Solar Generation Surged 153% Over Last Year

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Originally published on Solar Love.

Solar energy generation surged by around 153% over the last year in the UK, based on the most recent figures from the analyst company EnAppSys — with average daily electricity generation being around 1.37 gigawatts (GW) during the second quarter of 2015.

The new report also notes that, while solar photovoltaic (PV) generation accounts for only 4% of the UK’s electricity supply (as of the second quarter of 2015), that growth in the industry was already causing “oversupply” to the grid — thus contributing to negative market prices during some periods.

Worthy Farm To Install UK's Largest Private Solar Panel System

The report follows this observation up with the statement that, owing to the intermittent nature of solar energy generation (as well as wind energy generation), coal and gas-fired power plants need to be better able to rapidly switch off when grid oversupply occurs.
The director of EnAppSys, Paul Verill, commented that gas + coal generators will have to become more flexible with the growth of solar PV generation.

Renewables are playing an increasingly important role in meeting Britain’s energy needs and as the contribution increases, it must be assumed that its impact on pricing and supply issues will continue to grow.

If the capacity and output of solar PV and other renewables continue to grow, conventional power generates such as CCGT and coal will have to be more flexible to avoid oversupplying the network and paying the penalty of negative power prices.

On that front, the second quarter of 2015 saw the UK receive roughly 20% of its electricity from renewable energy sources — as compared to 50% from gas + coal, 22% from nuclear energy facilities, and a further 8% from outside countries. Owing to seasonal variations (primarily with hydroelectric generation), the share held by renewables regularly goes a bit higher.

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James Ayre

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy.

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6 thoughts on “UK Solar Generation Surged 153% Over Last Year

  • I found a real-time page with energy generation and sources for the UK. It is apparently updated every 5 minutes so you can hit the ‘refresh’ button on your browser and see how it changes over the day. Green energy is doing quite well this hour, day, week, month, and year. Over the last year it seems to be at around 8% of total consumption. It is amazing to see the day-to-day fluctuations in energy consumption. There are daily swings from 5 GW to 15 GW.

    I can’t find something similar for the US.

    • From reading those graphs, I find it very hard to believe the claim in the article that solar is causing oversupply issues already. Solar plus Wind maybe is believable, but compared with the standard day-night cycle that the grid has to cope with anyway, solar output is barely detectable in the graphs.

      Presumably now that solar is growing the owner of that handy site will update to break it out separately.

      • It isn’t causing an issue, except to utilities companies that are losing money.

        Interesting to note that UK grid demand has fallen from an average of about 40GW to 33GW.

        There is another website that does something similar for the UK grid. Don’t have link to hand, but if you Google UK national grid watch, its first link I think. There’s a link to the french grid from that site.

      • Solar capacity now stands at 7.5GW+ so yesterday (12th Aug) peaked at a forecasted 5GW. Total generation (plus imports) was just under 40GW so it is a meaningful share at its highest. By the evening demand peak that solar generation will have mostly disappeared.

        Obviously solar does have more impact combined with wind when the two can peak in excess of 10GW (versus 40GW demand that can be a high share) and that’s when the most interesting activity happens.

        • Gov’ts should encourage people installing solar PV to install some storage (like 1 or 2 kWh) with it. Hopefully there will be some good competition in this area soon.

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