The last number of weeks have brought a heatwave to the UK, something which has been unheard of for probably over a decade! With temperatures as high as 32 degrees, it has been warmer in Britain than Los Angeles. A great surprise to all!
While the sudden increase in temperature could be a worrying side effect of global warming, it is allowing us to make the most of solar energy output by breaking several solar power-generation records. According to The Guardian’s study, solar energy broke a weekly output between 21st and 28th June by producing 533 gigawatts hours of power and also generated more than 75GWh on five of the seven days which hit another record.
This is particularly symbolic for the UK, considering solar energy is normally the least effective renewable technology, due to the lack of direct sunlight we receive across the majority of the year. It also demonstrates the great advancement in solar energy as many years ago it contributed very little to the UK’s electricity supplies.
The demand for solar energy plummeted over the last year, following the abolishment of government subsidies and incentives for their use. However, from a commercial viewpoint, many companies still see the value in solar energy and have decided to continue investment. As a result, Foresight Solar has raised approximately £48.1 million through a share placing to part-fund the acquisition of 18 operational PV projects in the UK totalling 134.2MW. In addition to this, last August, IKEA began selling solar panels and batteries in the UK in an attempt to increase the focus to solar energy and to reduce energy bills.
Solar energy is one of the most advantageous of renewable technologies and here’s why:
- It doesn’t matter about the size of the solar panels in terms of efficiency.
- Solar energy could potentially have the power to meet the world’s electricity needs.
Therefore, although we don’t have high exposure to the sun in the UK, with the cost of installing solar panels so little, we should still continue to maximise their benefits, specifically when temperatures are set to soar in the UK each summer from now on.
Overall, the demand for renewable energy has grown extensively within the UK in the last twenty years with now over a third of the UK’s electricity mix being supplied by renewable energy sources. Innovation within the UK is creating a number of new opportunities within the renewables world, such as exploring kinetic energy, body heat and biogas as renewable sources, and it’s a great movement for the UK to be leading on.