There short answer is no. Some have blamed renewable energy for the UK’s decision to use coal power for the first time in over a month – but that’s not the case, say green activists, as the mercury rose above 30C.
The National Grid activated Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station in Nottinghamshire yesterday, as more people turned on their air conditioners to cope with the heatwave.
This ended a 46-day streak without coal-generated electricity, the longest since last summer, and drew criticism from environmentalists.
However, some commentators also blamed renewable technology. “The heatwave made Solar Panels too hot to work efficiently,” claimed right-wing UK newspaper the Telegraph.
Industry groups stated that’s not the full story, however. More solar power is produced in the summer than any other time – regardless of how hot it gets, as solar energy is produced from sunlight and not heat.
Can solar panels cope in the hot weather?
Solar panels are slightly less efficient at higher temperatures. Solar Photovoltaic (PV) cells convert a slightly lower proportion of sunlight into electricity in hotter conditions, solar groups explain.
However, they are built to normally function from about -40C to +85C. Performance does fall when temperatures go above 25C, but only by 0.34 per cent for every additional degree.
According to NXTGEN Energy Ltd, even at close to boiling point, power output would only be around 20 per cent lower.
The UK’s leading technical expert on the technology, Alastair Buckley, Professor of Organic Electronics at the University of Sheffield says that high temperatures only marginally affect the overall output of solar power – it’s a secondary effect. The university provides live Solar PV generation data which backs this up; solar power has been serving around 27 per cent of the UK’s power needs each lunchtime for this past week. Solar panels work perfectly well in the Saudi Arabian desert – and the same panels are being installed there as on rooftops in Birmingham or a field in Oxfordshire.
Coal and gas stations are less efficient in heatwaves too
Solar Energy UK says that heat affects not only solar panels, but also thermal power plants – such as coal, gas and nuclear – that need cool water to operate. As the climate gets warmer, this problem will get worse.
“Solar panels may lose some efficiency in high temperatures, but they are still cheaper and greener than fossil fuels. We need more solar power to fight climate change,” states SolarPower Europe.
A new report from the European industry group says that the UK’s solar potential is limited not by the sun, but by the lack of investment in the power network.
“In summer, solar power should be our main source of energy, but we are wasting renewable energy because our grid can’t handle it, and we have hundreds of renewable projects that are stuck because they can’t connect,” said McCarthy.
Coal is already on its way out in the UK. It only produces 2 per cent of the electricity, and it will be phased out by October 2024.
Frequently Asked Questions about Solar Panels
Solar Panels are built to normally function from about -40C to +85C. Performance does fall when temperatures go above 25C, but only by 0.34 per cent for every additional degree.
Latest Solar Panel Posts
- How AI could supercharge your solar panelsImagine stepping outside on a crisp January morning, a mug of steaming tea warming your hands. You glance at your rooftop, not with dread at energy bills, but with a mischievous grin. Why? Because the sun, that cheeky orb in the sky, is being squeezed for every juicy watt it holds thanks to your AI-powered […]
- Can Solar Panels Run a Whole House? Powering Your Home with Solar EnergySolar energy has become increasingly popular in recent years as a clean and sustainable alternative to traditional power sources. Homeowners in the UK are now considering solar panels as a means to harness the sun’s energy and reduce their environmental impact. One common question that arises is whether solar panels can effectively power an entire […]
- Unprecedented growth in the renewable sector driven by solar powerThe year 2023 marked a significant milestone in the realm of renewable energy, as solar power emerged as the driving force behind a remarkable 50% surge in global capacity. This remarkable achievement was revealed in the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) Renewables 2023 report, solidifying it as the 22nd consecutive year of record growth in renewable […]
- New solar panel concept could reduce payback time to just five yearsResearchers have conducted a comprehensive analysis and determined that a ground-breaking renewable energy concept has the potential to significantly reduce the payback period for solar panels to less than five years. This innovative approach, known as agrivoltaics or Agri-PV, involves the integration of solar farms with “shadow-friendly” crops. A team of experts from the esteemed […]
- The Allure of Solar and the Pitfalls of PriceThe allure of renewable energy is undeniable. Lowering your carbon footprint while achieving energy independence – it’s a win-win proposition. However, navigating the solar investment landscape can be fraught with hidden costs, particularly when lured by the siren song of bargain-basement prices. Consider the contrasting paths of Dean and Richard, both homeowners embarking on the […]
- Why Manufacturing & Logistics Businesses need to invest in Warehouse Solar PanelsElectricity and energy consumption are major expenses for manufacturing and logistics businesses, as they need them to operate machinery, illuminate and heat their facilities, and transport their goods. Warehouse solar panels can significantly reduce these costs and enhance the company’s financial performance, while also contributing to its sustainability objectives. Installing commercial solar panels on your […]
- The ECO Flex SchemeIf you do not meet the criteria for the ECO4 scheme, there is still a possibility for you to receive funding through the Local Authority and Supplier Flex (ECO Flex) mechanism. ECO Flex enables local authorities, the Scottish and Welsh governments, and energy suppliers to refer households for ECO4, even if they do not fully […]
- Octopus Energy to build Solar Powered Bill-Free HomesOctopus Energy has recently announced an exciting new partnership with The Hill Group, a renowned housebuilder. Together, they will embark on a project to construct 89 remarkable homes that are not only powered by solar energy but also offer residents the incredible benefit of zero energy bills. These innovative houses will be equipped with a […]
- Reduce Your Energy Bills With Solar PowerImagine this: you open your latest energy bill, brace yourself for another gut punch, and instead…a pleasant surprise. A number so low, it feels like a typo. A number that translates to groceries in the fridge, a night out without guilt, a little breathing room in your ever-tightening budget. Sounds like a fantasy, right? Not […]
- Advantages of Solar Panels in the UKSolar Power: Shining a Light on the UK’s Green Future The UK’s embrace of renewable energy is blossoming, with solar power playing a leading role. This surge reflects a national commitment to a greener, more sustainable future. But what exactly are the benefits of solar panels for UK homeowners and businesses? Let’s dive into the […]
- Why Your Business Should Invest in Commercial Solar PanelsSolar panels on houses and residential properties have become increasingly common in the last year. The number of individuals seeking a more sustainable way of living continues to grow each year. However, the pursuit of a greener existence is not limited to domestic life. Investing in commercial solar panels is an excellent way to reduce […]
- Why 2024 is the Year to Switch to Solar Power for Your Care HomeThe global shift towards renewable energy has never been more urgent, and care homes are no exception to this trend. In recent years, solar power has emerged as a viable and sustainable solution for meeting the energy needs of care homes while reducing costs and environmental impact. Now it’s 2024, there is a compelling case […]