The recent drop in air pollution alongside cool, sunny weather in Britain has led to an all time high of 9.69 gigawatts of solar power being generated last Monday.
Cool, sunny weather in the UK and a significant drop in air pollution levels due to the lockdown caused by the coronavirus has meant that there has been a new record set in Britain for the amount of solar power being generated. Solar farms peaked at 9.69 gigawatts of power into the grid last Monday afternoon.
The record was recorded by the live UK solar power generation tracker at the University of Sheffield. The feat was achieved at 12:30pm on the 20 April which beat the previous record which was a peak of 9.55 gigawatts in May 2019. Experts believe the new record may partly have been driven by the less polluted, clearer skies due to the lockdown.
At this moment in time, Britain is experiencing much lower levels of air pollution because fewer cars are on the road and fewer industrial activities are taking place due to the lockdown which is in place to try and stop the spread of the coronavirus. The reduced air pollution levels have led to clearer skies.
The clearer skies paired with sunny weather and cooler temperatures are the ideal conditions for maximising the efficiency of solar photovoltaic cells and it is expected that more solar energy generation records will be broken over the coming months, stated the Solar Trade Association.
The record means that at the peak time of solar power generation on Monday afternoon, solar PV cells were generating nearly 30 per cent of the overall demand for electricity in Britain, stated Chris Hewett the chief executive of the Solar Trade Association.
Hewett went on to say that the favourable weather conditions and the decrease in air pollution levels means that solar power is able to provide record levels of clean and cheap energy to the UK grid.
The sharp decline in economic activity and many more of the British population now working from home has led to a massive drop in demand for electricity. The decreased demand for electricity with ideal conditions for both wind and solar power had meant the UK has also gone on its longest run in 2020 without using coal to power the grid.
The most recent record follows on from more promising news for the renewable energy industry as renewable energy sources produced a record amount of 44.6 per cent of electricity towards the grid for the first quarter of this year. These are just more examples of renewables raising the bar in energy production, stated Dr Nina Skorubska from the trade body REA.
Dr Skorubska also believes that governments need to ensure that climate change is still one of their top priorities during this pandemic and that it does not get neglected.
Even more renewable records are expected to be set across all of Europe over the coming week and months as the lockdowns across the continent will lead to a drop in demand for electricity therefore renewable sources will be able to take up more of a share of the electricity supply.
Aurora Energy Research revealed in their update last week that the demand for electricity throughout Europe had decreased by 10 to 20 per cent because of the ongoing pandemic and the prices of energy related commodities had fallen by over 40 per cent.