UK goes for record coal-free stretch during optimal solar conditions

Clear and cool weather across the country over the last few weeks saw the UK hit its longest coal-free period since pre-industrial times

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Over the last few weeks, record solar output has seen the UK hit its longest coal-free period since before the industrial revolution.

A press release sent out this morning by the Solar Trade Association (STA) states “maximised levels of solar generation” have meant coal power has been offline since the morning of 10th April, with more than a terawatt hour of solar power being generated in that period – this is enough energy to drive around 6.7 billion kilometres in a Nissan Leaf.

Solar power generated more than 11% of UK electricity demand in the last week and set both a new daily peak generation record of 9.68GW at 12:30 on 20th April, as well as a weekly generation record of 485.41GWh.

The STA notes clear skies and cool temperatures generally provide the optimal conditions for solar efficiency.

CEO Chris Hewett said: “Solar is playing a critical role in delivering a fossil-free grid and cleaner, cheaper power to Britain. As we look towards a net zero future, solar will become an increasingly greater part of the energy mix, tackling high power prices, climate change, and biodiversity loss.”

He added solar energy was a”golden opportunity” to kick-start the economy following the coronavirus crisis, by providing a wealth of green jobs and the opportunity for fast economic growth.