Solar is to help renewables become the “dominant force” of Great Britain’s energy mix by as early as next year, a new report has found.
Energy monitoring firm EnAppSys has said that renewables looks set to become the most prolific source of power in the 2020 calendar year.
It predicts that combined, renewables will generate around 121.3TWh of electricity in that year compared to about 105.6TWh of power from coal and gas-fired plant, figures which EnAppSys has reached by studying current trends.
Solar PV, the firm states, recorded a 22% increase in generation in 2018 alone having spent large amounts of the spring and summer basking in unprecedented levels of sunshine.
2018 proved to be something of a banner year for the UK’s solar fleet as generation records fell and a number of asset owners reported performance metrics above expectation.
But with solar deployment now uncertain over the upending of subsidy support, most of the growth in renewables in the future is being pegged to offshore wind.
Paul Verrill, director at EnAppSys, said 2018 had seen significant quantities of wind general displace conventional power stations, squeezing their output in the market, a factor which stands to grow alongside offshore wind capacity.
This displacement is forcing operators of conventional power stations to seek alternative sources of revenue such as the Capacity Market. However the suspension of the scheme could heap financial pressure on such plant unless it is resolved soon.
“With conventional power stations still required to meet peak demand requirements, the suspension of the Capacity Mechanism payments that paid them to be available is a concern in terms of ensuring plants are incentivised to remain in the market,” he said.