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Solar Overtook Coal Power in UK this Summer

UK solar energy generation overtook electricity from coal over the last six months. It is a historic year for getting energy from the sun, according to a new analysis.

As reported by The Independent on 4th October, research undertaken by the Carbon Brief website discovered that UK solar energy produced almost 7,000 gigawatt hours of electricity in contrast to coal producing 6,300 GwH between April and September 2016.

At 10% more, this solar energy data perhaps indicates an apparent shift in paradigm in regards to fossil fuel usage. The report goes on to say that 2015 solar capacity almost doubled. However, due to a lack of government support, UK solar energy has struggled to convince investors to get behind it.

According to the Independent, James Court, Head of Policy at the Renewable Energy Association, said that five years ago the possibility of solar overtaking coal seemed unimaginable. He said that these newest figures illustrate falling costs and a rise in demand for solar, as one of the cheapest forms of power. If 5 years ago this was unimaginable, can you imagine what might be possible in another five years?  With a concerted, joined up effort in the battle to rid ourselves of the big polluters we could lobby and garner support to steer the earth towards clean energy.

Trend Currently Only Seasonal

However, despite this awesome news, the trend is seasonal. It probably won’t continue into winter when UK solar energy is less in supply and demand for heating rises drastically. So, although there is something to celebrate, we cannot and should not rest on our laurels. We cannot assume that this trend will continue without action.

Despite this, scientists are working on innovative technology to store energy from the summer sun until we need it in winter. And the development and utilization energy of storage systems have been increasing. These store energy until we need it. The report in The Independent mentioned hydro schemes as one solution.

We’ve seen excesses in renewable electricity lowering prices and even taking prices negative, as in countries like Germany. This also generates another money-making opportunity when demand rises again. According to industry experts, there are multiple gigawatts of capacity that are being proposed or are ready to be developed, but a joined-up and supportive policy structure is critically needed.

Juliet Davenport, chief executive of renewable energy was quoted in The Independent as having observed a renewable revolution on UK rooftops with over 750,000 homes benefiting from solar energy

We really hope this transition continues at light-speed and cleans up our environment quickly. What individual actions do you think we can take to encourage this shift from fossil fuels? 

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