Solar Accounts For 13 GW Renewable Capacity In UK

Renewables Exceed Fossil Fuel Generation For First Time In United Kingdom With 42 GW Online Till September 2018; Solar Accounted For 13 GW: Drax
12:52 AM (Beijing Time) - 08. November 2018
uk renewables 9-2018

In its Electric Quarterly Insights for Q3/2018, Drax says for the first time UK’s grid had more renewable power than fossil fuels at the end of the quarter. However, solar power’s capacity addition on the grid has not grown as much in the UK since the state stopped subsidizing PV projects.

Key Takeaways

  • UK grid hit a major green milestone at the end of September 2018 as the country saw renewables exceeding fossil fuel generation for the first time, according to the Q3/2018 quarterly report by Drax
  • Renewables made up 42 GW of the total capacity on grid in the country, while fossil fuel powered generation added up to 40.6 GW
  • Most part of the renewables came from wind crossing 20 GW capacity online, solar another 13 GW and biomass adding up 3.2 GW
  • However, UK's solar sector is a mere shadow of what if was a few years ago - and it continues to go down. In Q1/2018, the UK added only 86 MW, in Q2 it was 49 MW, and in Q3 the new capacity shrank to 36 MW.

Renewable energy has outshined fossil fuel electricity generation for the first time in the United Kingdom with the ratio of the two at the end of September 2018 being 42 GW:40.6 GW. Among renewables, wind farms made up the most with more than 20 GW capacity available on the system, followed by solar PV adding another 13 GW and biomass contributing 3.2 GW. Close to a million rooftop solar power systems in operation across Britain added to the 13 GW number for solar.

“This quarter, Britain’s power system hit a major green milestone that would have been unthinkable just a few years ago,” said UK based energy company Drax while sharing these statistics in its Electric Quarterly Insights for Q3/2018. “A third of Britain’s coal, gas and oil capacity has retired over the last five years, while the capacity of wind, solar, biomass, hydro and other renewables has tripled. Now standing at a combined 42 GW, renewables now dominate Britain’s electricity generating infrastructure.”

Since the beginning of this decade, Britain built an average of 3.8 GW of new renewable energy capacity comprising 1 GW of onshore wind, 800 MW of offshore wind, 1.4 GW of solar and 400 MW of biomass. In the absence of state support, solar’s share hasn’t grown as much, but subsidy-free solar projects are good news for the sector that’s starting to stand on its own feet supported by the reduction in the cost of panels (see 15 MW Unsubsidized Solar Park In UK). However, UK’s solar sector is a mere shadow of what if was a few years ago – and it continues to go down. In Q1/2018, the UK added only 86 MW, in Q2 it was 49 MW, and in Q3 the new capacity shrank to 36 MW.

Biomass, solar and wind each produced 11% to 24% more power in Q3/2018 than in Q3/2017, as gas produced 10% less, and even coal produced 3% less.

A detailed quarterly report by Drax is available on the website of Drax.

Anu Bhambhani

Anu Bhambhani is the Senior News Editor of TaiyangNews

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