A 20 20 20 Vision for Solar PV

Posted in: Comment, News and Updates

I've written before about our own domestic solar pv generation (most recently here), which is now some 33 months into its life.  To put our modest production (an average of around 11 units / day) into perspective, the UK's installed solar pv capacity is now (23 Feb 2014) 1.85 GW, and this is rising at an average rate of 7.88 MW / week.  There are now over 513,000 installations with an averaged capacity of 3.61 kW each which suggests that most of these are domestic systems – our own is still larger than the average.  How much power they actually generate is another matter, as it depends on latitude, orientation and weather.

It seems to be the government's policy to have 20GW of installed solar capacity by 2020 (see this).  That looks a stretch unless we are to see lots of industrial-scale solar farms being built.  Well, perhaps.  For example, SunEdison is now building 56 MW of capacity, some of it in Wiltshire, much to the distress of the many Friends of CO2 groups, round and about.  Even so, 20 GW seems a long way off.

Real time data for the UK can be viewed here.  As I write this (about noon on an early, and bright March day), we have the following (rounded up) generation:

Coal  – 16 GW

Gas  – 13 GW

Nuclear – 7 GW

Wind – 2 GW

Hydro – 1 GW

Interconnectors – 3 GW

Other – 0.5 GW

Significantly, this 'other' includes solar pv, which throws the 20 20 20 vision / ambition (ie, 20 GW by 2020) into sharp relief.  That said, and educationally speaking, these real time data are quite revealing, and worth some study, even if only to see how the fuel mix varies across a 24 hour period.  Some school somewhere, surely, ...

Posted in: Comment, News and Updates


  • (we won't publish this)

Write a response