Sweltering Britain triggers surge in solar power generation

by Search Gate staff. Published Thu 02 Jul 2015 11:29, Last updated: 2015-07-02
Solar power to be matching 15% of UK's energy demand by end of the week
Solar power to be matching 15% of UK's energy demand by end of the week

As Britain sweats through a mini heatwave, new analysis predicts that solar will be supplying 15% of the nation’s power demand by the end of the week.

The impressive level of green energy generation comes as solar homes, commercial solar rooftops and solar farms across the country are to open their doors tomorrow and Saturday as part of Solar Independence Day, the UK’s annual celebration of solar.

MPs around the country will also be visiting solar sites in their constituencies, including Energy Minister Andrea Leadsom MP who will be visiting a local solar-powered leisure centre in Brackley, Northamptonshire.

Locations opening their doors to the public on the day include a housing estate in Northumberland, a stately home in Aberdeenshire, a community solar farm in Hampshire and a waste facility in Berkshire, in a bid to raise awareness of the technology’s potential.

Paul Barwell, CEO of the Solar Trade Association, said: “It is great to see so many solar homeowners and businesses get involved in Solar Independence Day, showing how solar really gives power back to the people, allowing households and business to generate their own clean, green electricity.

“At more than 80% public support, solar has been shown in government opinion polls to be the country’s most popular form of energy.”

Energy Minister Andrea Leadsom added: “Solar is an integral part of the UK’s energy mix. It’s great to see industry initiatives like this boosting confidence and take-up, so hardworking families and businesses can benefit from low-carbon energy and lower bills.”

The theme of the event follows the Solar Trade Association’s publication just a few weeks ago of its ‘Solar Independence Plan for Britain’, which sets out how the government can double the amount of solar and get solar as cheap as fossil fuel electricity by 2020, all for a modest amount of extra funds.

The nationwide open day is being supported by the Climate Coalition, an alliance of leading campaign groups, who are launching a ‘For the love of solar’ version of their very successful ‘heart’ for people to send to their local MPs.

In addition, to mark the occasion, PwC is set to launch a report on Monday entitled ‘How can UK solar continue to shine?’. The report will look at the current status of the solar industry in the UK further to an in-depth survey conducted in partnership with the Solar Trade Association.

It is estimated that the UK now has almost 8GW of solar PV, across homes, offices, schools, warehouses and in solar farms. This is enough to power the equivalent of 2.4million homes securing 30,000 jobs in the sector and its supply chain. There are currently 660,000 solar homes, 30,000 solar schools, leisure centres and small commercial rooftops although only 1,300 large solar rooftops.

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