Contrary to common misconceptions, Britain’s climate allows for huge production of solar power, with 60% of the solar resource of the Sahara desert – and solar can produce electricity even on rainy or overcast days.
The Solar Trade Association (STA) marked the summer solstice over the weekend with a call for UK government to review policy to fully exploit this potential.
With total UK installed solar capacity across homes, buildings and solar farms estimated at around 4.5GW, the STA has estimated that decent weather on the summer solstice resulted in solar producing up to 3.9% of the UK’s electricity demand.
On larger roofs and in solar farms, solar power is the second cheapest major renewable, and constraining the technology will therefore increase the costs of decarbonising our energy supplies.
Solar is the UK’s most popular energy source, recording an 85% public approval rating in the DECC Opinion Tracker. The solar industry expects financial support for renewable energy to keep reducing as costs fall but wants to see a level playing field where solar isn’t disadvantaged compared to other low-carbon sources of power such as wind, biogas and nuclear.
An STA spokesman said: “The UK solar industry could soon stand on its own two feet, but only if the Government provides policy stability and a more level playing field for this very popular technology. All that is needed is one more push for solar to compete directly with fossil fuels.”
“In the 21st Century clean solar power can revolutionise how we power our homes and businesses. Solar also improves our national security by providing energy independence and effective action against climate change.”