Craig Bennett: On the May Day bank holiday weekend, as much of the UK basked in record breaking temperatures, something remarkable was happening: For a time, solar power in the UK was generating a quarter of the country’s electricity, more than nuclear, more than coal, and briefly more than gas too. Think about it. A quarter of all the houses, tube trains, factories, pubs, ice cream makers and TV channels had their power supplied by solar panels. And the impact on decarbonisation is being felt. In April the UK had its longest ever run without coal power, thanks to a combination of sunny, windy days. Throughout 2018 it is likely that many more such records will tumble. Yet even as solar power notches up records the installation of new systems has collapsed as government policy changes over the last few years kick in. The cuts made to the feed-in tariff for rooftop solar have been too fast and too deep, while a lack of auctions for new generation continues to lock out cheap and efficient large scale solar power from the market – a side effect of the government’s irrational dislike of onshore wind. As a result new installations have declined by over 90% since 2016.
Solar Trade Association 1st June 2018 read more »