Solar panels. Author: John S. Quarterman. License: Creative Commons, Attribution 2.0 Generic.
The UK generated more electricity from solar panels than from coal over the past six months combined, Carbon Brief said on Tuesday.
From April through to September, solar power output was 6,964 GWh, equivalent to 5.2% of UK electricity demand for the period, Carbon Brief's analysis showed. At the same time, coal generated 6,342 GWh, which met 4.7% of demand.
This is the first half year, in which solar beats coal. April 9 was the first day when solar electricity exceeded coal-generated power, and May the first month.
The trend reflects an almost doubling of solar capacity during 2015, as well as historic lows for coal generation due to shifts in wholesale energy markets and the carbon price floor, Carbon Brief said.
There are also seasonal factors. About three-quarters of annual solar output in the UK comes in the sunnier months from April to September, while coal generation is usually higher in winter when demand peaks.