Over the last few decades, the use of solar energy has significantly increased in the United Kingdom. This could be credited to the accessibility of solar panel systems and the drastic decrease in their installation and maintenance costs over the years.
Additionally, many people these days are trying to use greener energy sources while controlling their energy consumption. Thus, they are considering switching to solar power usage or adapting a more integrated power consumption model.
This approach has helped people lessen their carbon footprint significantly. Studies show that more and more people are eager to get solar panel installations in their homes today, and the number will only keep on increasing.
With this growth trajectory, clean energy will soon be a significant source of electricity in the world. Here’s everything you need to know about the adaptation of solar energy globally.
What do You Mean by Solar Statistics
Solar statistics refer to the general solar energy trends studied and documented in an area. These trends are noted down from time to time so that changes can be observed and further explored.
Globally, solar energy consumption has seen a steady rise over the last few years. People across continents are leaning towards using solar panels to power their homes, offices, and other properties. Studying these trends can help understand the future of solar energy consumption and production and thus facilitate research.
Additionally, these statistics are also essential for those who are trying to create more sustainable solar energy set-ups for the future.
Solar Installations in 2021
Solar panel installations all over the globe have skyrocketed in recent years. While the COVID-19 pandemic slowed down this pace for a brief period of time, the numbers are back up again and thriving.
Countries like China, The United States of America, and India are considered the most significant solar energy users. The three countries generated 30.1 GW, 13.3 GW, and 8.8 GW of solar energy, respectively, in 2019 alone.
The UK has experienced a spike in the popularity of solar panels, too, over the last few years. In March 2021, the total solar panel installations were about 13.5 GW in the country. These numbers are currently at an all-time high. In fact, every other house in Yorkshire is seen sporting a solar panel system today.
The beginning of the pandemic in early 2020 witnessed a drastic fall in the number of solar panel installations in the UK. The dip was most severe in July 2020. With businesses shutting down and the economy at an all-time low, it wasn’t easy to keep the solar panel installations going.
However, after a short dip in 2020, the numbers started increasing around the same time again next year. In fact, a 1.2% rise in the number of installations has been noted in the United Kingdom this year. Today, the number of small-scale installations is a lot more common as people make educated decisions to install panels at home.
In fact, in March 2021, a total of 4,991 installations were recorded. This is the highest number of solar panel installations to be recorded since 2019. The total solar energy increased drastically due to the sudden rise in the number of small solar panel set-ups.
Total Energy Generated by Solar Panels
The total amount of energy generated by solar panels is highly subjective. This figure depends on the type of panels installed and their efficiency rates.
The United Kingdom was among the forerunners of generating electricity using solar energy in 2021. UK was responsible for generating 13.5 GW of power using solar energy. Until April 2021, the energy generation increased by 1.2% as compared to 2020 figures.
The United Kingdom began upgrading its solar energy game at the beginning of 2021. In January 2021, the country installed about 1,064,148 solar panel systems, both small and large, which helped increase production by 12.6 MW. Right at the start of 2021, these installations helped boost the country’s overall solar energy production.
Solar power plantations of large sizes generated 44% of the total 13.5 GW. It is estimated that the UK has over 454 large-scale installations, most of which have been recently installed. They do not even account for half the total amount of energy generated.
On the contrary, small-scale solar-powered projects were responsible for generating a total production of 7.56 GW. These small-scale installations include homes, offices, and small buildings.
Solar Energy Emissions
Planet Earth has been fighting the battle against carbon emissions for years. Traditional forms of energy generation like coal and other fossil fuels emit large amounts of carbon dioxide. These emissions are very harmful to humans, animals, and ecological processes.
Globally, about 36.44 billion metric tons of carbon emissions were recorded in 2019.
2020 saw a decrease in the total carbon emissions by 2 billion metric tons. This can be credited to the brief shutting down of industries, markets, cars, etc., due to the pandemic. Carbon emissions plummeted when the world came to a temporary halt in 2020.
Since then, the UK Government has taken serious steps to reduce carbon emissions in the country. Under its ‘Contracts for Difference’ program, the United Kingdom aims at reaching net-zero carbon emissions before 2050.
The program has encouraged people to take greener and cleaner steps. Naturally, it has also sped up the adaptation of greener forms of energy which is the best way to reduce carbon emissions.
The program encourages installing solar panel systems, wind farms, and water turbines to generate electricity. It is estimated that the use of solar panels alone can help reduce carbon emissions by 12%.
Indeed, a novel program like the Contracts for Difference requires elaborate planning and impeccable implementation. The government has taken adequate steps to make sure greener changes are made in the country.
For instance, the government of the United Kingdom has allotted £12 billion towards this program to take it further. The program will also help generate over 250,000 jobs across the country. Creating greener jobs that promote clean energy production will also help bring down unemployment rates. This way, they are tackling two problems at once.
The UK Government has also curated a ten-point plan to follow and implement to reach net-zero emissions by 2050.
Largest Solar Panel Farms
While small-scale solar panel installations are at the forefront of enhancing clean electricity production, large-scale farms have immense potential too. Installing sizeable solar energy farms can help take the load off the grid by producing clean and environment-friendly electricity.
The United Kingdom is not among the largest producers of solar energy. However, the country has optimized green energy production very efficiently. The United Kingdom installed over 454 large-scale solar panel projects in 2021 alone.
This country also has numerous solar energy farms that have been running for years.
1. Shotwick Solar Park
UK’s largest solar power farm, the Shotwick Solar Park, is situated in Flintshire, Wales. It was set up back in 2016 and is spread over 250 acres. The Compton group and We-Link energy initially commissioned the park.
The scale of this solar farm allows it to provide electricity to a wide range of industries and companies, making it the largest provider of solar energy in the country. It produces a total of 72.2 MW of power and supplies it to several places.
For instance, the Shotwick Solar Park supplies electricity to UPM Shotton Paper Mill, the largest paper mill in the country. It requires a lot of electricity daily, and the supply is successful only because of the high solar capacity of the power plant.
Additionally, the power plant also helps reduce carbon emissions. It helps UPM Shotton Paper Mill save 225,000 tonnes of emissions and reduces them by 70%.
2. Lyneham Solar Farm
The second-largest solar farm in the United Kingdom, the Lyneham Solar Farm is located in Bradenstoke, Wiltshire. This farm was first commissioned in early 2015 and now occupies an area of 213.3 acres.
The Lyneham Solar Farm has a rich history and is built on land that was once a runway. The farm was developed by the British Ministry of Defense and is now the country’s second-largest solar energy provider.
The farm has a solar capacity of 69.8 MW. One of the most defining features of this solar farm is its 17-km long connection of solar panels. These panels are neatly tucked together in trenches, and the complete network comprises over 160,000 photovoltaic panels.
3. Owl’s Hatch Solar Park
Another famous solar farm in the United Kingdom is the Owl’s Hatch Solar Park. This solar park is the third largest solar energy producer in the country. It is located in Herne Bay, Kent.
The solar farm was commissioned in March of 2015 and occupies about 212 acres of land today. It generates 51.9 MW of electricity in total. You can find this solar panel farm a little south of Herne Bay.
The farm is easy to spot as it covers eight complete fields with PV solar panels. This neatly tucked arrangement is a visual treat for onlookers. The meetings are arranged in rows and stand at a whopping 2.4 meters in height.
All the discussions on this solar farm are tilted at a 22-degree angle. This angle creates room for sheep and animal grazing on the farmland. The tilt of these panels makes it one of the best choices for a dual-use project.
Over 14,000 homes are powered by the energy generated at this farm!
To Sum Up
Solar energy is the solution to a number of problems that we face today. On a global level, the statistics listed in this article show just how effective switching to clean energy can be when dealing with ecological challenges and energy issues.
On a personal level, switching to solar energy for day-to-day electricity consumption can help save a lot of money. It is a one-time investment that will pay for itself over the years.
So, if you have been on the fence about using solar energy for electricity generation and its viability, have a look at the facts stated above. We are sure that they will make you change your mind and jump on the solar power bandwagon very soon!