Belfast Telegraph

UK Website Of The Year

Solar panels generate more UK power than coal plants

Published 04/10/2016

Solar power contributed more electricity in the UK than coal plants over the last six months
Solar power contributed more electricity in the UK than coal plants over the last six months

Solar panels generated more electricity in the UK than coal plants over the past six months, analysis shows.

From April to September, solar power met 5.2% of demand - generating an estimated 6,964 gigawatt hours (GWh) of electricity - while coal accounted for 4.7% of UK demand with 6,342 GWh of power.

From July 1, solar outstripped coal for 10 weeks in a row, the analysis by the Carbon Brief website - which reports on climate science and energy policy - reveals.

While solar generation would be expected to peak in the sunnier summer months, and coal fall as demand is reduced compared to winter, the figures reveal the shifts in the UK's energy mix.

The amount of solar deployed in the UK increased rapidly in 2015, while coal fired power stations continued to close.

The Government has pledged to shut all polluting coal plants by 2025 as part of efforts to tackle greenhouse gas emissions - as long as new gas plants can be brought online.

Much of the gap caused by closing coal plants has been filled by gas, figures from the Government for the second quarter of 2016 show, with coal falling to 6% of the energy mix from 20% for the same period in 2015, and gas rising from 30% to 45%.

But the share of the UK's electricity coming from fossil fuels is falling, as increasing amounts of renewables come online and overall power demand falls, Carbon Brief said.

This spring, the amount of electricity generated by coal fell to zero at points for the first time since the 19th century.

Over the course of April, more power was generated from wind than from coal - and in May, solar panels outstripped coal-fired power stations to generate more electricity across the month than the fossil fuel.

Read More

From Belfast Telegraph