UK Solar Panels Produced More Energy Than Coal For An Unprecedented Six Months

Solar power is on the rise, but UK government subsidy cuts threatens its ascendancy. gyn9037/Shutterstock

Robin Andrews 07 Oct 2016, 10:50

For six consecutive months (and counting), the UK’s solar panels generated more electricity than coal. Research by climate change information organization Carbon Brief reveals that this is thanks to solar capacity having nearly doubled since 2015, along with changes to the wholesale energy markets.

Between April and September, the solar output was roughly 5.2 percent of the total UK electricity demand, slightly higher than the 4.7 percent of demand satiated by coal. This was aided by the sunnier summer months, so there is some worry that the pattern will reverse again once darker and colder winter days begin to creep in.

“Solar overtaking coal this summer would have been largely unthinkable five years ago,” James Court, policy chief at the Renewable Energy Association, told The Independent

“This new data shows its popularity amongst homeowners and businesses and its falling costs. Now that we have a significant global and domestic industry, solar is one of the cheapest forms of power.”

Examples like this underline just how much renewable energy is on the rise. From 1960 to 2013, the proportion of the world that uses renewable energy sources has more than tripled, which coincides with a drop in global fossil fuel consumption by 13 percent.

The cost of constructing and using renewable energy sources, particularly wind and solar power, has been dramatically reduced as of late. The technology in itself is becoming more and more advanced with each year that passes.

With the Paris agreement set to officially come into force, and various nations around the world embracing clean energy like never before, have we finally hit upon a renewable energy revolution?

Wind power has never been cheaper, but ominous forces threaten its proliferation. Calima010/Shutterstock

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