In less than three weeks, the United Kingdom has already set a new record on solar energy. After reaching nearly 8.5 gigawatts back on May 10th, they were able to get past the 8.7 plateau last Friday afternoon. The record was reached due to sunny conditions and the continuing growth of solar panels in the area.
On Friday, temperature in Britain reached 28 degrees Celsius, or 82.4 degrees Fahrenheit. That weather allowed for 24.3 percent of total energy generation in the area to come from the sun’s rays. Most of the power came from natural gas at 30 percent, and coal was just at 1.4 percent. That’s nearly equivalent to the day the UK didn’t fire up any coal power stations back in April 21st.
Don’t expect this record to last for long. It’s not even summer in the UK yet, and 2017’s edition is predicted to be extremely hot. They’re already in the time frame to reach temperatures of 38 degrees C, or 100 degrees F, based on a report from . Meteorologists believe that July could be a month that sees fluctuating weather with the potential of rain, but August will also be hotter than average.
Solar energy now accounts for powering over 3.8 million homes in the area. Based on statistics released from the UK’s government, capacity has reached up to 12.1 gigawatts. With costs continuing to come down, that’s only going to get larger. However, if it wasn’t for the government cutting some funding last year, the industry could be even bigger.
The government eliminated subsidies back in 2015, and a report from explains that roughly 18,000 jobs were axed from an industry that had around 35,000 opportunities. While it was strange to see them cut support when solar finally matched coal-powered generation, they argued that due to costs rapidly coming down, funding was no longer necessary. Opponents believe the cuts came too swiftly.
Hannah Martin, Head of Energy and Climate at Greenpeace UK, didn’t hold back her thoughts in a statement from : “Today’s new record is a reminder of what the UK could achieve if our government reversed its cuts to support for solar, and backed the clean technologies that could provide jobs, business opportunities and plentiful clean energy for decades to come.”
Coal production continues to slump very rapidly in Britain. Originally being the first country to fire up coal-powered stations back in 1882, production saw an extremely huge 23 percent drop from 2015 to 2016. That date on April 21st marked the first time since coal was introduced that power was generated without the need for coal in a 24-hour period. By 2025, the area will be shutting down all of its coal power plants.