Renewable Energy

Solar energy breaks records in June

It has been announced by the Solar Trade Association (STA) that solar power hit record highs in the UK last month, at one stage providing almost a quarter of the country’s electricity.

The industry now estimates that the UK is capable of generating nearly 12 gigawatts (GW) worth of energy from solar panels equipped to workplaces, homes, factories, and other buildings.

It is thought that the energy generated is enough to power the equivalent energy needs of 3.8 million homes.

At one point in June, new analysis by MyGridGB found that solar panels met 23.9 per cent of the UK’s energy needs during the afternoon of June 5.

It is now estimated that 800,000 homes now have solar photovoltaic panels, with a further 200,000 enjoying solar thermal units to heat water, meaning that the UK now has one million solar homes.

Mike Turner, chair of the STA operations & maintenance working group said that:

With this initiative we want to raise standards and establish best practice across the UK in solar PV operations and maintenance, making sure people are aware that preventative action can avoid costly corrective action later.

Solar PV plants have no moving parts but are power plants like any other, and therefore safety has to be our primary concern.”

Although the record comes as a great step for the industry, it comes during a time of falling demand amidst Government cuts to subsidies.

A spokesperson for the Department of Energy and Climate Change said that, “the solar industry still receives subsidies,” but that “the cost of solar has steadily declined over the past 10 years, so it is only right that as these costs come down so should the subsidies paid for through energy bills.”

The UK currently has a 15 per cent overall target for energy consumption from renewable sources by 2020, as set out by the EU. It also has a 10 per cent target for renewables in transport energy consumption by 2020.

Paul Barwell, chief executive of the STA said that:

The UK has successfully deployed almost 12GW of solar across the UK, providing nearly 25% during peak generation.

“This is what the country and the world needs to decarbonise the energy sector at the lowest price to the consumer.”

He added by saying that the Government’s recent announcement that it would require a 57 per cent cut in emissions by 2030 sent positive signals on a long term basis for the solar and renewable energy industry.

Andy has worked as a freelance journalist for a number of years and has been published in some of the UK’s top newspapers. He is now the editor Commercial Waste Magazine and contributes to a large selection of headlines and blog articles on the site.

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