Last six months of 2016 sees solar panels taking over from coal
Another world is possible: for example, one where more houses in Loughborough have solar panels on the roof. Image by Faber14 (via Shutterstock).
Between April and September 2016, energy from solar panels outstripped that of coal power stations, according to a report by Carbon Brief. From April, our use of coal power saw a dramatic fall. Though this was consistent with seasonal demand, high carbon floor prices were another trend. This led to the closure of three coal-fired power stations at Longannet, Ferrybridge C and Rugeley. Furthermore, between 2012 and 2014, another three coal-fired power stations closed due to the economics of converting them to modern emissions standards.
Statistics for September 2016 show that solar panels accounted for 6,964 gigawatt hours of the UK’s electricity supply (a 5.4% share). For coal-fired power stations (like Ratcliffe-on-Soar, which is almost on our doorstep), the figure stands at 6,342GWh (4.7%).
Today, there are now ten coal-fired power stations in the UK. Seven of them see full time use; one is being converted to biomass fuels; another only operates in winter. Eggborough power station only operates when extra power is needed. In July 2016, it was reported in The Guardian that 46% of Britain’s electricity came from renewable energy sources. A marked increase in the installation of onshore and offshore wind turbines and solar panels filled the gap left by coal power stations.
A false dawn?
The last year saw the winding up of the DECC (Department of Energy and Climate Change). Ironically, 2015 was the year when renewable energy increased its share of the UK’s national grid. With the DECC part of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, some commentators may assume the game’s up for solar panels. The Hinkley Point project and fracking installations in Northern England are two prime examples. April 2016’s 65% cut in feed-in tariff rates are another one.
Even so, demand for solar panels remain as strong as ever. Besides cleaner energy, they have become a ‘must-have’ home improvement alongside double glazing. Who doesn’t want cheaper electricity bills in the long run? Who doesn’t want to leave the planet in a suitable condition for future generations? We at LJ Electrical of Loughborough know ourselves about how solar panels have come up in leaps and bounds of late.
For further information, why not call us on 07770 788469? We’ll answer your queries as soon as possible.