Clear skies and cool temperatures have helped UK solar to break the all-time peak generation record. Around 12:30 on Monday 20 April 2020, a peak of 9.68GW was recorded by Sheffield Solar live PV generation tracker, surpassing the previous record of 9.55GW set on 13 May 2019. At the time of the peak, solar was meeting almost 30% of UK electricity demand.
STA Chief Executive Chief Hewett said: “Ideal weather conditions and lower levels of pollution than normal mean solar is providing record levels of cheap, clean power to the grid. At a time when most of us are working remotely, we can say that solar is truly keeping the WiFi on.”
The UK is currently experiencing significantly lower than usual levels of pollution as a result of the COVID-19 lockdown (see BBC Report). This has contributed to clearer conditions, which, combined with relatively cool temperatures, provide optimal conditions for maximising solar PV efficiency. As the lockdown and good weather continues, it is expected that more solar generation records will be broken.
The abundance of solar power on the grid has also contributed to the lengthiest coal-free period for the grid in 2020 so far, with more than 11.5 days passed at time of writing.