Due to the sunniest spring ever, the UK breaks solar power generation record


Solar panels on the BedZED eco-village in Sutton, UK. Photo credit: Tom Chance, CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia

By Anders Lorenzen

After the UK’s government meteorological organisation, the Met Office confirmed that the spring of 2020 was the sunniest ever since records began, clean energy records were set too.

Nearly 700 hours of sunshine landed on the British Isles in March-May. 

Data from Refinitiv, a financial data outlet, reveal that this greatly benefitted the UK’s solar installations.

Throughout May around 77 gigawatts (GW) of solar-powered carbon-free electricity was generated – this equates to around 10% of total electricity output. It beat the previous record which was only set the previous month, In April – a testament to how sunny those two months were. In April solar power contributed to 8.1% of the UK’s electricity output. Gas and nuclear delivered 29% and 22% respectively. 

As well as the 2020 spring being the sunniest on record in the UK, May 2020 was the sunniest month on record. In addition, the low energy demand due to COVID-19 also had a significant impact on the record-breaking solar power generation record. 

Overall May was a great month for renewables. The grouping of the clean energy technologies delivered the largest share of electricity output in May with 36% of the UK’s production. In addition, throughout May, no coal was burned, being the first month to achieve this remarkable feat. This week the more than the two-month period of not burning any coal, which started on the 10th of April, finally ended.

Wayne Bryan, Director of European Gas Research at Refinitiv, said about the remarkable solar record: “Last month, renewable generation numbers were very encouraging and gave a glimpse into the future providing belief we can achieve net-zero by 2050. The UK’s recent rise in the Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Index (RECAI) only reinforces this with the UK currently ranked 6th globally for renewable investment. The biggest growth is expected in offshore wind, while biomass and offshore wind capacities are also expected to increase.” 

While many industries face increasing uncertainty due to the COVID-19 outbreak, this new data reaffirms the renewable energy sector as an attractive industry in the UK. No virus or other pandemic can stop the power of the sun and the wind.

Categories: data, energy, UK

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