Solar power in the UK – the lowdown

Solar power
With solar power becoming a viable renewable energy option in the UK, the solar industry is set to grow. Today we’re taking a look at some of the statistics that show just how many inroads solar power has already made into the way in which we source clean, green energy for our homes, our businesses and our public buildings here in Britain.

These solar power statistics can only be an estimate due to the nature of how business or home owned power operates within the UK power grid system. Because the power generated and used by onsite equipment never reaches the grid, the figures cannot be accurately calculated by government statistics. There are too few studies or estimates of the use of home or business generated electricity both solar and wind power to give a real estimate of the generating power of these technologies. However, the table below gives some indication of how much the use of solar power has increased in the years 2008 to 2012.

Year End 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
Capacity (MW) 22 27 77 1,014 1,655
Generation (GW-h) 17 20 33.2 259 1,328
% of total electricity consumption <0.001 <0.001 0.001 0.07 0.35

With the UK solar industry still in its infancy, these figures are predicted to soar over the next ten years or so as the government strives to reach its interim goal of lowering carbon emissions by at least 34% by 2022. The Climate Change Act calls for 15% of the UK’s energy to come from renewable sources by 2020 and the most efficient renewable sources will be wind and solar energy.

The UK government has instituted several policies that are designed to increase energy efficiency in Britain, including:

• The roll out of smart meters which are electronic devices that record the consumption of electricity in intervals of an hour or less and communicate the data back to the utility provider for monitoring and billing purposes. Smart meters facilitate two way communications between the meter and the central system in real time. These meters also enable consumers to manage their energy use more efficiently in order to reduce their bills and carbon emissions.

• The Green Deal is the UK government policy that permits loads for energy saving measures for properties in the UK and was officially launched in January 2013. These measures are designed to enable home owners to benefit from energy efficient improvements and are repaid through energy bills.

• The CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme (formerly known as the Carbon Reduction Commitment) is a mandatory carbon emissions scheme that applies to non-energy-intensive organisations in the public and private sectors. It’s been predicted that the scheme will reduce carbon emissions by 1.2 million tonnes per year by 2020. This scheme has been credited with driving demand for more energy efficient products and services.

• The Climate Change Agreement is a set of regulations that covers the ten main energy intensive sectors of industry in the UK (aluminium, ceramics, cement, chemicals, food and drink, glass, foundries, paper, steel and non-ferrous metal) and more than thirty smaller sectors which include agriculture and livestock rearing units.

Written in collaboration with Energy Bonds a brand of CBD Energy Limited. If you are interested in ethical investment opportunities visit Energybonds.co.uk to discover how you can earn money from the sun.

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