Solar panel users basked in record energy surge created by summer heatwave

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Solar panel users basked in record energy surge created by summer heatwave

Households and businesses with solar panel installations benefitted from record power generation over the summer, as the energy source outperformed gas to account for almost a third (28%) of the UK’s electricity production in June.

The amount of solar-generated electricity produced was around four times higher than average for the month, peaking at over eight gigawatts per day – about twice the maximum rating of Yorkshire’s Drax power station – according to the National Farmers’ Union.

And a record 533-gigawatt hours of power was produced by solar panels during the week commencing 21 June. This is in comparison to a decade ago when solar contributed almost nothing to UK electricity supplies.

The summer surge in solar power came soon after the Government announced that its Feed-in Tariff (FIT) scheme – which subsidizes the installation of solar panels for domestic properties – would end in April next year.

Duncan McCombie, Chief Executive at YES Energy Solutions, said: “Since the financial incentives to install solar panels are due to expire within the next six months or so, homeowners would be wise to capitalise on the opportunity now.

“For those who do, the FIT scheme will continue to pay you for generating sustainable electricity for the next 20 years, plus you can make a profit on any surplus electricity you produce but don’t use by selling it back to the national grid.”

And with a brighter-than-average autumn predicted by the Met Office, it seems homeowners who invest now are likely to yield good rates of power from the unseasonably high pressure, as their systems can reap the benefits of a sunny spell in the run-up to Christmas.

In addition, developers are looking to larger-scale projects – such as solar farms – to continue providing household power after the FIT scheme ends.

Plans for the UK’s largest solar farm on the coast of Kent – at Cleve Hill – propose 890 acres of solar panels, which would generate enough power for around 110,000 households if it comes online in 2020.

The developers believe that scaling up solar installations, amid falling technology costs, will mean the farm will be cost-effective without subsidies.

Dr Alastair Buckley, a solar expert at the University of Sheffield, suggested that, although controversial due to their potential environmental impact, large-scale solar farms such as Cleve Hill could contribute successfully to the production of solar energy alongside rooftop panels.

In a blog earlier this year, he wrote: “Instead of a future dominated by one or the other approach, maybe we’ll see subsidy-free solar farms to start with, and as costs drop further, and there aren’t any sensible solar farm locations left, rooftop deployment will become economically viable again.”

Mr McCombie agreed that perhaps a combination of the two applications would represent the way forward for solar power.

He added: “It’s a real shame that the Government is no longer in a position to continue with the FIT scheme, which was a real coup for renewable energy production. However, with the number of subsidy-free solar farms likely to increase if they prove economically viable, this is still great news for a low-carbon future.

“And in the meantime, homeowners are encouraged to take advantage of the FIT scheme’s last few months. It’s a great way to become more environmentally responsible and benefit from the spells of hot weather we’re increasingly seeing.”

News Source: SolarDaily

2018-10-11T18:37:34+00:00 October 11th, 2018|News|Comments Off on Solar panel users basked in record energy surge created by summer heatwave
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