Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Solar powering more than a sixth of the UK right now?

I don't write much about energy any more, but thought it would be interesting to put up this graph showing the impact that solar is having on UK electricity demand. Basically it shows how much lower demand for electricity from the grid was yesterday (Tues 30 June) compared to a similar Tuesday in July two years ago.

I reckon this is from solar.

But why would it show up as a reduction? Well, the grid is made up of two main bits, the national 'high speed' grid and a local grid. Decentralised solar reduces the demand on the main 'high speed' grid, which these numbers show.

The gap between the two lines is the difference in consumption. A little bit of this is falling use of electricity (about 1GW), part of a general trend, but as the day goes on it gets wider and wider, reaching about 4.6 GW... given there are something like 3-4GW of rooftop solar in the UK this fits perfectly!

In fact given that total demand (including the 3-4GW of solar we are assuming) is around 40GW, this means that rooftop and decentralised solar alone may be doing nearly 10% of the UK's electricity. Add in the 2.5-3GW of large solar that feeds into the grid and we could be looking at more than 15% of national electricity!!!

Okay, that's just for a few hours on a very hot sunny day, but it is an indication of how much things are changing, and given that it has happened in just a couple of years, surely a sign of hope!

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