Renewables sets new quarterly generation record on back of solar growth

Image: Lightsource.

The UK’s surging solar PV capacity has helped the country to a new quarterly renewable electricity generation record.

In Q1 2016 renewables generated more than a quarter (25.1%) of the UK’s electricity despite lower than expected wind speeds and rainfall. That figure was up 2.3 percentage points on generation recorded in Q1 2015, helped along by significant new solar capacity.

Throughout the first three months of the year solar PV generated 1.3TWh of power, a staggering 41% year-on-year increase which took solar’s share of total electricity generation to 1.4%.

All renewables set a new record for electricity generation throughout the quarter, providing some 23.2TWh of power to the grid.

Solar’s capacity in the UK has soared over the last 18 months on the back of two particularly important quarters of development under the Renewables Obligation scheme.

More than 2.5GW of new solar capacity was added in Q1 2015 under 1.4 ROCs, followed by a further 1.553GW of solar in Q1 this year under 1.3 ROCs.

In total, more than 4GW of new solar capacity was added over the course of 2015 alone, and it is widely anticipated that current UK solar capacity is approaching, or has already breached, 12GW.

But with the curtailment of the RO scheme in March 2017 and with residential deployment currently experiencing a run rate of around 25% courtesy of stringent feed-in tariff cuts, it is all but certain that UK solar deployment will not achieve similar deployment in the coming years.