Solar power

Definition: Solar power is energy harnessed from the sun's rays. It is a renewable energy source, meaning it is a cleaner, more sustainable alternative to burning fossil fuels. Solar power produces no greenhouse gas emissions during operation, consumes no water, and uses relatively little land space.

Large-scale solar generation can either use the sun’s heat or light to create energy. Some solar systems use heat, while others transform light energy into electricity. Most generators use solar cells or photovoltaics, but solar water heating and solar furnaces can also be utilised. Solar cells are the most common form of solar energy and can be organised as offsite solar farms or placed into business operations or on households as small-scale arrays, usually on roofs.

How does solar power work?

Solar power is commonly generated from cells that are small in size, but are often used in larger units called solar modules. These modules can also be coupled into bigger units known as solar panels.

Certain materials exhibit properties that allow them to absorb light photons from the sun and release electrons. Once captured, the electrons can form an electric current to be used as electricity. Silicon is the most popular semi-conductor for solar cells, and is capable of freeing up electrons from the absorbed sunlight.

The internal organisation of silicon atoms mean that the electrons are effectively funnelled into a directional flow, as different atoms become positively or negatively charged. This creates an electrical field across the cell. As a semi-conductor, the silicon can maintain this balance, allowing the atoms to build up an electric charge which is transferred to power equipment.

Solar can also be used to conserve gas and electricity to heat water, although this is usually a domestic application. Solar is used to heat water in glass panels located on a roof, which is pumped to the panels via pipes. This helps the cut energy bills on energy that would otherwise be used on a central heating system.

What is the market size for solar power?

The amount of solar power added worldwide soared by 50% in 2016, as countries added more than 76GW in capacity. Globally there is now 305GW of solar power capacity, a huge increase on the 50GW capacity at the beginning of the decade.

The UK is considered a leader for the European solar market, accounting for 29% of installed capacity in 2016 alone, followed by Germany with 21% and France at 8.3%. However, a turbulent policy environment meant that the UK added just half of the solar capacity of 2015 levels.

In total, solar capacity has reached 10GW across the UK. And, for six months of the year, the 6,964 gigawatt hours (GWh) generated by solar - 5.4% of the UK’s electricity demand – outperformed the 6,342GWh generated by coal.

 

What are the business benefits of installing solar power?

Solar power benefits from a rapidly shrinking capital expenditure. 2016 marked the first time that the new solar capacity added has been greater than any other electricity-producing technology, because of favourable economic outputs.

Provided that businesses can overcome the capital hurdle, they should consider whether ground-mounted or roof panels are desirable. as a general guide, one square metre of solar panel equates to 150W of power, so businesses should ensure they have adequate space beforehand.

If solar generation does prove worthwhile, the benefits will vary. As well as lowering carbon emissions, businesses can cut down on purchasing costs for electricity, and the growing popularity of energy storage creates scope for businesses to generate income by sending surplus renewable energy back to the grid or storing for later use.

Solar panels don’t require much maintenance once installed, making them a popular choice for all types of businesses. However, panels should be kept clean, otherwise efficiency levels could fall by 30%. Businesses must also consider that solar power is intermittent, meaning that it won’t produce at night, while yields drop on cloudy days.

What are the costs of installing solar power?

Solar costs have fallen by more than 80% in less than decade, making the technology the world’s cheapest form of renewable energy.

For a small commercial 5-9kW system, upfront costs range between £8,000-£14,500 while a larger 50kW system costs around £70,000. If self-funding, expect around a 10-year payback on a mid-range system. If financed through a third party Power Purchase Agreement for 10-20 years, a business should expect to see at least a 5% reduction on its energy bill in the first year.

What are the business requirements when installing solar power?

For roof solar, a survey must be conducted and ownership and permission rights need to be established if a business is operating in a multi-occupancy building. Ground solar also requires title searches. While many sites have little issue receiving permitted consent, planning consent can depend on a range of factors, such as if glare from the panels would impact surrounding areas. This a common hurdle near airport runways.

For landowners such as farmers who are seeking to implement solar fields, planning application fees can potentially reach £250,000 and the local authority will have to perform a site visit during assessment.

What is the policy backdrop for solar power?

Government subsidies for solar PV have drastically reduced due to Feed-in Tariff (FITs) rate regression, but can still provide a modest contribution to cost savings. FiTs are paid for every kWh generated.

Certain criteria must be met to be FITs eligible and installers must be Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) registered.

The overhaul of the business rates system in April this year also placed extra pressures on businesses with onsite solar systems. The draft rateable values for 2017 for all properties that pay business rates and owners of solar panels are split into two classes of those who mainly export and those who utilise the energy onsite.

Most solar systems exporting to the grid or via a Power Purchase Agreement to tenants will see a decrease in business rates, reflecting falling costs, and lower rates of subsidy, thanks to an agreement with the Solar Trade Association (STA). However, businesses that use most of the power themselves are faced with a six to eight-fold increase in business rates.

For solar thermal energy, the Government has dropped plans to remove it from the Renewable Heat Incentive scheme and the technology will receive the same level of support (19.74p/kWh) over seven years.

See also: Photovoltaic

See also: Onsite generation

See also: Renewable energy

Related items

The success of the transition would hinge on enabling policies and roadmaps, steered by the UK Government

UK can create 200,000 jobs through clean technology drive

The Association for Renewable Energy and Clean Technology (REA) has claimed that the UK can reach 100% renewable electricity in the next 11 years, with clean technology uptake set to create 200,000 new jobs provided the Government can deliver enabling policies.

Sunak will be hosting a press conference after the Budget speech on Wednesday. Image: HM Treasury 

Budget 2021: Businesses and charities make last-minute calls for green funding to Rishi Sunak

With the 2021 Budget being announced on Wednesday (3 March), Chancellor Rishi Sunak is facing mounting pressure over the Green Homes Grant, National Nature Service and other green policy decisions.

In 2016, the firm agreed to power its operations with 100% renewable electricity, a target that has been met

Etsy commits to net-zero emissions by 2030

Online retailer Etsy has pledged to "deepening its commitment to a sustainable future" by setting science-based targets and pledging to reach net-zero emissions by 2030.

Mission Possible: Achieving a green recovery for the public sector

edie's Mission Possible campaign has evolved to focus on the green recovery, with a new series of reports outlining the challenges that businesses in key sectors face in relation to the coronavirus pandemic, and the opportunities that the green recovery will bring. Up next, the public sector.

Carlsberg's recycled bottles and Lidl's EV chargers: The sustainability success stories of the week

As part of our Mission Possible campaign, edie brings you this weekly round-up of five of the best sustainability success stories of the week from across the globe.

Aluminium is a key material for sectors including electric vehicles, but is regarded as high-impact and hard-to-abate in terms of environmental impact

Solar power and blockchain: BMW and Rio Tinto make major moves on sustainable aluminium

BMW has announced plans to begin sourcing aluminium produced using solar-powered manufacturing, in the same week that Rio Tinto launched a new blockchain-based sustainability standard for the material.

Pictured: Solar panels on an Ikea store in Sydney, Australia 

Ikea surpasses renewable energy generation milestone after installing 920,000 solar panels

Ikea's parent company Ingka Group generated more renewable energy that it consumed last year, marking a milestone on its vision to become a "planet-positive" business.

One scenario suggests more than 3,000% growth in electric vehicles and a 2,500% rise in domestic heat pumps by 2030

Electric vehicles and heat pumps set for exponential growth on road to net-zero

More than 4.5 million electric vehicles (EVs) could be on UK roads, almost 250,000 households could feature solar technology and between 450,000 to more than one million domestic electric heat pumps could be installed by 2030 in order to reach net-zero, new research has found.

The webinar features speakers from Costain Group, Ibstock Brick, the Natural History Museum and Carbon Clean

Now available on demand: edie's free webinar exploring onsite net-zero technologies

edie's latest webinar is now available to watch on-demand. Tune in to hear experts providing best-practice advice on investing in and integrating net-zero technologies to help assist with decarbonisation targets.

In action: the world's first fully commercial carbon capture and utilisation plant

Carbon Clean – in partnership with Tuticorin Alkali Chemicals and Fertilizers Limited (TFL) – has been operating the world’s first low-cost, industrial-scale carbon capture and utilisation (CCU) plant in India since October 2016. Take a look inside the project with this new download.

Six top tips for accelerating your electric fleet transition

This report showcases the output of edie's SPARK! event, where expert energy professionals from a range of sectors shared experiences integrating electric vehicles (EV) into their organisations' fleets.

The reshuffle will enable Sharma to focus on the COP26 climate summit full-time. Image: Gov UK

Kwasi Kwarteng steps up to BEIS Secretary post as Alok Sharma takes on full-time COP Presidency

The Government has confirmed that Alok Sharma will step down from his position as Secretary of State for the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to enable more focus on his role as COP26 President, with Kwasi Kwarteng named as his replacement.

Oliver joined M&S full-time in 2017, having previously undertaken contracted work for the retailer

Meet edie's 30 Under 30 Class of 2020: Oliver Knowles, M&S Property

This new series profiles the members of edie's 30 Under 30 - a nomination-based community of 30 hugely talented young sustainability and energy professionals who have already achieved great things or are showing fantastic promise. Up next: M&S Property's R&D manager, Oliver Knowles.

Under some scenarios being explored by the Government, solar PV capacity could reach between 80-120GW of capacity

Government ponders 120GW of solar to help reach net-zero

On the same day that the Energy White Paper was unveiled, the Government also launched a new consultation on how financing and deployment of renewable technologies can accelerate action towards net-zero, with up to 120GW of solar capacity mooted as a means to quadruple green energy nationally.

Pictured: The rooftop solar array at Amazon's Tilbury fulfillment centre

Amazon reveals plans for 26 new large-scale renewable energy projects

Amazon has confirmed a major renewable energy investment project that will see it finance the construction of 26 new wind and solar projects totalling 3.4GW of generation capacity.

McDonald's has been one of the largest corporate renewable energy purchasers in the US since 2008

McDonald's to finance three major new renewable energy projects in the US

McDonald's has completed new virtual power purchase agreements (VPPAs) for two major wind farms and a large portfolio of solar projects across three US states.

The report warns that failure to support the already struggling sector could result in the UK becoming a buyer, rather than supplier, of green energy and technology

North Sea energy sector requires 'urgent investment' to reach net-zero

Investment into net-zero technologies such as floating offshore wind and clean hydrogen could capture up to £125bn in annual benefits from the North Sea energy sector, but a new report has warned that jobs in the area could fall by at least 20% without incentivising policies.

Skanska's EV policy and the UK's largest community solar park: The sustainability success stories of the week

As part of our Mission Possible campaign, edie brings you this weekly round-up of five of the best sustainability success stories of the week from across the globe.

When fully operational, the windfarm will provide enough clean electricity to power more than 4.5 million UK homes and it is expected to trigger capital investments of around £9bn in total

World's largest offshore windfarm reaches £6bn financial close

Financial close has been confirmed on two phases of the world's largest offshore windfarm, Dogger Bank, with capital expenditure reaching around £6bn, which is the largest offshore wind project financing globally.

The latest draft text, obtained by EURACTIV, “significantly weakens the priority given to renewable hydrogen,”

Renewable or 'low-carbon'? EU countries face off over hydrogen

EU member states are fighting over which type of hydrogen to support, with two opposing camps facing off: those backing green hydrogen produced exclusively from renewable electricity, and those in favour of a broader "low-carbon" definition, which also includes nuclear power and decarbonised gases.

The Government believes that the 12GW target will provide equivalent energy outputs to power 20 million electric vehicles annually

Government targets 12GW of renewables in latest CfD auction

The Government is aiming to double the amount of renewable energy procured through its Contracts for Difference (CfD) scheme, with 12GW of wind and solar energy being targeted.

Eshcon director Anya Ledwith (left) and compere Julia Bradbury (right) present the award

What makes a sustainability leader? Meet water management champions The Coca-Cola Foundation and WWF UK

With the 2021 Sustainability Leaders Awards approaching, this new feature series showcases the achievements of the 2020 winners and reveals their secrets to success. Up next: The winner of our Water Management Project of the Year award, The Coca-Cola Foundation and WWF UK.

The UK has bounced around the top seven of the rankings for the last few years

UK climbs to fifth for global renewables market outlook

The UK has leapfrogged Germany to rise to fifth in the rankings for national attractiveness of renewable energy investment and deployment opportunities.

Pictured: An artist's impression of the facility. Image: Desolenator 

Carlsberg turns to thermal solar tech to meet water stewardship ambitions

Multinational brewer Carlsberg Group has revealed that it is investing in the world's first solar thermal water purification facility, in India, as part of its work with WaterAid.

The deal with Tesco will take Low Carbon’s advanced renewable energy pipeline to more than 4GW

Tesco to co-create three UK solar farms

Tesco has confirmed a new partnership with a renewable energy investor that will facilitate the creation of three solar farms in the UK that will generate clean power equivalent to powering 44,800 homes.

Between 2011 and 2019, gross operational emissions in the sector have fallen by almost 45%

Renewables and restoration: Water sector outlines net-zero routemap for 2030

The UK's major water companies will unveil a Routemap detailing how solar installations, electric vehicles and biomethane production will enable the sector to reach net-zero emissions by 2030.

China (pictured) and the US led the way for installations in 2020, with European markets likely to rebound in 2021

Renewables will overtake gas and coal globally in 2024, IEA predicts

The International Energy (IEA) has published a major analysis on the state of the global renewable energy sector, predicting that wind and solar capacity will double by 2025.

Annually, the brewery generates excess solar energy equivalent to powering around 300 homes for more than a month

Taste the Sun: Sol beer brewed using 100% renewable electricity

Heineken's Sol brand is being brewed using 100% renewable energy, following the installation of more than 9,000 solar panels at a facility in the Netherlands.

The Plan provides a discount for Tesla owners but it open to all EV drivers. Image: Octopus Energy

Tesla launches UK-based virtual power plant project

Tesla has opened its Energy Plan to UK residents with electric vehicles (EVs), encouraging them to install domestic solar generation and batteries to provide flexible energy services to the grid.

edie explains: Science-based targets

What makes emissions targets "science-based"? How can businesses go beyond 2C alignment and strive for 1.5C? And what role do these targets play in the net-zero movement? This free edie explains guide answers all of these questions and more.

In the locations with the best infrastructure and policy, solar can generate electricity at costs below $20 per MWh, the report states

World Energy Outlook: IEA forecasts boom for solar in wake of Covid-19

Even if nations do not bolster their climate targets, renewables will meet 80% of the global growth in electricity demand by 2030, with solar leading the way, according to the International Energy Agency's (IEA) new World Energy Outlook.

PepsiCo currently powers facilities using a mix of renewable electricity of 18 countries, of which 9 are accounted for by 100% renewable electricity

PepsiCo targets 100% renewable electricity globally

PepsiCo has confirmed it has joined the Climate Group's RE100 initiative, pledging to source 100% renewable electricity across its operations by 2030, a move that could reduce the manufacturing giant's carbon footprint by 2.5 million tonnes.

This weekly round-up explores how businesses across the world are ramping up efforts across all areas of sustainable development

Manchester's B-Corp hub and California's bee-friendly solar farm: The sustainability success stories of the week

As part of our Mission Possible campaign, edie brings you this weekly round-up of five of the best sustainability success stories of the week from across the globe.

Charging infrastructure and technical advice and assistance will also be provided by ABB, Tesla and the AA

Retailers sign up to co-locate on UK's first electric forecourt

A host of retailers including WHSmith, Costa Coffee, Booths and Gourmade have enrolled into a new partnership with the UK's first electric forecourt, which is due to open near Braintree, Essex, this November.

There is more than 10GW of large-scale solar being planned in the next few years

Renewable and technology associations team up to drive corporate demand for clean energy

UK trade associations, techUK, the Solar Trade Association (STA) and RenewableUK are forming a new partnership to encourage companies to purchase more renewable energy in a bid to spur the net-zero transition.

The solar and storage facilities are due to come online by the end of 2020

Warrington Borough Council launches resident-funded green bond in bid to reach net-zero

Warrington Borough Council has launched a green bond that will see residents invest in the region's renewable energy and energy storage sectors, as it works to deliver a carbon-neutral town by 2030.

Over the next decade, IGS will aim to shift to clean energy solutions, including building on its existing solar division

Energy retailer IGS commits to net-zero by 2040

One of the US's largest energy retailers, IGS, has announced a new commitment to reach net-zero emissions for its operations and the services it provides to its domestic and business customers by 2040, pledging to provide 100% renewable electricity and carbon-neutral gas.

Output over the three-month period was 19% higher than the previous peak

Report: Europe recorded record solar output amid Covid-19 lockdowns

Solar output in Europe hit a record high of 47.6TWh in the second quarter of 2020, new analysis from EnAppSys has shown.

The report also noted that the group achieved a 6.5% reduction in carbon emissions per tonne of production during the reporting year from a 2015 baseline

Ibstock to pilot net-zero factory

Brick manufacturer Ibstock has announced plans to pilot at least one net-zero factory, with the company outlining its intention to set a net-zero carbon goal for its operations in the near future.

Clayhill solar farm generates enough energy annually to power 2,500 homes. Image: Anesco 

Gridserve buys UK's first subsidy-free solar farm to power EV forecourts

Gridserve has purchased the UK's first subsidy-free solar farm from developer Anesco as it works to bring more than 100 "electric forecourts" online across the nation.

This weekly round-up explores how businesses across the world are ramping up efforts across all areas of sustainable development

Europe's largest floating solar farm and Canary Wharf's green office: The sustainability success stories of the week

As part of our Mission Possible campaign, edie brings you this weekly round-up of five of the best sustainability success stories of the week from across the globe.

edie Explains: Scope 3 carbon emissions

What are Scope 3 emissions? How are they calculated? How can they be mitigated and reduced? And, what are the business benefits of doing so? This free edie Explains guide gives you everything you need to know.

Pictured: The Scout Moor Wind Farm is England's second-largest onshore wind array

Onshore wind and solar 'could boost UK economy by £29bn'

BEIS and the Treasury are being urged to remove barriers to onshore renewable energy projects as part of their Covid-19 recovery planning, in a new report claiming that 'shovel-ready' renewables could provide a £28.9bn boost to the UK economy.

The bond will finance the installation of five new solar arrays.

West Berkshire Council launches 'UK's first' resident-funded green bond

West Berkshire Council has launched a green bond that will see residents invest in the region's renewable energy sector, in what it claims is a UK first.

Solar-powered carpark lighting poles will offset more than 9,000kWh of energy use annually

First zero-emission McDonald's restaurant unveiled at Disney, Florida

McDonald's has unveiled its first zero-emissions restaurant at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, with solar arrays, green walls and kinetic bikes all featuring to create enough renewable energy that the building will need each year.

innocent's sustainability cheerleader Katie Leggett talks edie through the report

'Good all round': Exploring Innocent Drinks' first sustainability report

EXCLUSIVE: Innocent drinks has launched its first "good all round" report, the company's innovative take on the traditional sustainability report outlining progress against its carbon-neutral, circular economy and staff engagement ambitions.

GIG is aiming to improve the biodiversity at each site, with a Biodiversity Net Gain Assessment to be carried out on each project

Macquarie issues joint venture on 1GW solar and battery project pipeline

Macquarie's Green Investment Group (GIG) has announced a new UK joint venture with Enso Energy to create one of the largest solar and battery portfolios that will enhance the biodiversity on each project site.

Solar panel installation, Tetra Pak site. Image: Tetra Pak

Tetra Pak targets net-zero value chain by 2050

Packaging firm Tetra Pak has today (11 June) committed to reaching net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions across its operations by 2030, with a longer-term target to achieve a net-zero emissions value chain by 2050.

Wind farm in Kokkolantie ,Finland

'Records are falling like dominos': Europe delivering record renewables generation

New statistics have confirmed that Europe broke a renewables generation record during the month, with the continent sourcing more than 50% of its energy needs from green energy on May 24.

Zalando has committed to placing solar panels and low-carbon technology on all its new and existing fulfilment centres by 2023

Zalando unveils science-based targets, commits suppliers to set carbon goals

Online fashion retail platform Zalando has built on its commitment to carbon neutrality across its own operations by having targets to reduce operational carbon emissions by 80% and emissions from the production of private label products by 40% approved by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi).

The average rated capacity for new turbines installed in 2019 surpassed 2,750kW, up 72% from 2009 levels

Wind sector is getting bigger, in more ways than one

The Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) has confirmed that the wind sector installed a record 63GW of new capacity in 2019, while the average size and performance of new turbines have also increased.

Concerns had been raised as to placing the storage system onto farmland. Stock image

BEIS approves UK's largest solar farm

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has this week approved what is set to be the UK's largest solar farm, located in Kent.

Hosted across the Worthing and Shoreham-by-Sea areas, the VPP system will incorporate solar panels, batteries and electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure 

West Sussex's £31m 'smart' local energy system to progress during lockdown

A Virtual Power Plant (VPP) project in West Sussex which is aiming to streamline how low-carbon energy is generated, stored, traded and consumed is still running "at full speed" despite the economic disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The developers claim that the farm would generate enough renewable electricity to power 91,000 homes and would reduce UK carbon emissions by 68,000 tonnes annually. Stock image

UK's largest solar farm expected to be approved

Development consent for what would be the UK's largest solar farm is expected to be confirmed by the Government this week, which could also see the world's largest energy storage system co-located at the site in the Kent countryside.

The UK could become a world leader for green hydrogen, as it could become cost competitive much faster, due to enabling policies and low-cost and highly abundant renewable

Report: Renewables to account for three-quarters of UK's power demand by 2050

The UK could source 76% of its power demand from renewables by 2050, according to a new report from RenewableUK which claims that the nation's net-zero target will spur rapid demand for green hydrogen while attracting more than £50bn to an already world-leading offshore wind sector.

The document outlines sweeping green policy changes across energy, buildings and transport

Europe's draft 'green recovery' plan leaked

The European Commission's promised green recovery plan will focus on building renovation, renewables and hydrogen as well as clean mobility and the circular economy, according to a leaked working document obtained by EURACTIV.

Community-owned energy projects generated 168MW of electricity in 2018, of which 21 organisations operate within Northern Powergrid’s region

Northern Powergrid unveils community engagement decarbonisation plans

The distribution network operator (DNO) for the North East, Yorkshire and northern Lincolnshire has unveiled a new community energy engagement strategy outlining steps to use community-based consumption and power to respond to the climate emergency.

Coronavirus lockdowns have seen national energy demand fall by 15% for the month of April.

Coronavirus lockdown: UK hits coal-free month

The UK has gone more than 30 days without relying on coal for power, with gas, nuclear and renewables providing enough demand during a period of lower energy demand because of the coronavirus lockdown.

Unilever’s chief executive Alan Jope reflected that amidst a global pandemic it was the duty of business to repair a broken capitalism mode

Unilever's Alan Jope on repairing capitalism, Covid-19 and Sustainable Living Plans

Providing an update to Unilever's flagship Sustainable Living Plan as it enters its 10th and final year, chief executive Alan Jope reflects on the need to double down to protect the planet and society during the pandemic by "driving a new model of capitalism".

To date, 8.2MW of solar PV has been installed across 43 Scottish Water sites, capable of generating 6.5GWh of renewable electricity annually

Scottish Water switches on latest solar array at Dunfermline wastewater facility

A wastewater treatment facility in Dunfermline is the latest Scottish Water facility to be fitted with onsite solar technology, as the water company progresses towards its net-zero carbon target for 2040.

The project will now focus on bringing more parties into the LEM

Local energy trading market launched on Orkney islands

A trial focused on delivering real-time trading between renewable generation and local grid flexibility on the Orkney islands has been successful, with project lead Electron noting that more than 1,300 trades have been completed as part of a demonstration projected.





Each of these success stories exemplifies how businesses are ramping up ambitions and actions in all areas of sustainable development 

World GBC's 'Paris proof' buildings and Abu Dhabi's low-cost solar: The sustainability success stories of the week

As part of our Mission Possible campaign, edie brings you this weekly round-up of five of the best sustainability success stories of the week from across the globe.

The project has secured planning permission for more than 80 sites across the nation to date. Image: Gridserve

Hitachi pours millions into Gridserve's electric forecourts project

Hitachi Capital UK has announced a multi-million-pound investment to support Gridserve's ambitious project to develop more than one hundred electric forecourts across the UK to spur the low-carbon transition.

The LCOE of battery storage has fallen to $150 per MWh for systems with a four-hour duration, almost half of its LCOE cost recorded in 2018

Onshore wind and solar 'cheapest' form of energy for two-thirds of global population

Utility-scale solar PV and onshore wind are now the cheapest forms of new-build energy generation across two-thirds of the global population, according to new analysis from BloombergNEF (BNEF) that shows that costs for renewables and battery storage have plummeted in recent years.

The four weeks of April has seen coal account for less than 1% of electricity generation

UK sets new record for coal-free generation

The UK has this morning broken its existing record for coal-free power generation, surpassing 18 consecutive days and counting.

The peak record in solar generation also contributed to the UK’s longest coal-free period in 2020 so far

UK smashes solar generation record

Solar use in the UK broke an all-time peak generation record on Monday (20 April), accounting for almost 30% of UK electricity demand, with the UK also operating for more than 11 consecutive days without coal.

LG Solar is currently giving away cherry trees to customers to help them capture carbon at home

LG's solar arm targets carbon neutrality by 2030

LG Electronics' solar division has unveiled a new strategy of measures that will enable the business to become carbon neutral by 2030.

EnAppSys does state that the trend is likely to be a “temporary high”

Renewables eclipse other power sources in Great Britain for first quarter of 2020

New data has revealed that renewables accounted for more electricity than any other power source in Great Britain for the first quarter of 2020, as blustery winds spurred renewables generation to 45% of the entire electricity mix.

Pictured: Cumbria's Walney Extension wind farm, the largest offshore wind array in the world

New renewable energy capacity hit record levels in 2019

Almost three-quarters of new electricity generation capacity built in 2019 uses renewable energy, representing an all-time record. New data from the International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena) shows solar, wind and other green technologies now provide more than one-third of the world's power, marking another record.

The Council has committed to installing an additional 182 electric vehicle charging points by the end of the year

Hackney Council powered by 100% renewable electricity

Hackney Council is now sourcing 100% of its electricity demand from renewables, with the council accelerating towards a goal to reach net-zero emissions by 2040.

The researchers do note that smaller-scale technologies won’t reach net-zero emissions by mid-Century in isolation and may have to be combined with larger-scale solutions

Prioritise Small-scale technology to deliver affordable net-zero transition, researchers claim

A new study has warned of focusing on "politically seductive" large-scale solutions such as nuclear and carbon capture and storage (CCS), noting that more granular solutions like energy storage, solar and heat pumps can be mass deployed at an affordable cost to enable a quicker net-zero transition.

The platform will enable EVs to charge when costs are at their lowest and manage renewable assets cost effectively 

UPS integrates AI software at Camden depot to optimise clean EV charging

Logistics delivery giant UPS will spearhead a new project exploring how Artificial Intelligence (AI) systems can optimise how businesses charge electric vehicle (EV) fleets and integrate onsite renewables to reduce emissions and energy costs.

The vast majority (85%) of the growth was accounted for by wind deals, mainly offshore

Renewable power purchase agreements surge more than 25% in Europe

Renewable power purchase agreements (PPAs) made by corporates in Europe totalled 8GW in 2019, up from 5.5GW in 2018.

In total, 6.2GW of installed capacity was supported by FiTs between the scheme's launch in 2010 and closure in 2019

One year on: How has the solar feed-in-tariff closure impacted renewables in the UK?

The UK's Feed-in Tariff (FiT) scheme for small-scale renewable arrays closed on 1 April 2019, much to the disappointment of key green campaign groups and solar industry figures. But, in the 12 months that followed, how has the market responded?

Some EVSE UK members will join the REA’s EV Steering Group and many will gain access to other REA industry groups, including the Solar Forum and the Energy Storage Forum

REA and UK EVSE merge to deliver unified voice on electric vehicle infrastructure

The REA has announced that members of the UK Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment Association (UK EVSE) will join its 75-strong group of companies involved in the delivery and operations of electric vehicle (EV) chargers and services in the UK.

Last October, the Government rejected a string of recommendations from MPs aimed at decarbonising UKEF’s portfolio

UK Export Finance accused of climate 'hypocrisy' over funding

Updated: In the same week that the UK Export Finance’s (UKEF) direct lending facility has allocated more than £2bn for clean growth projects a global NGO has accused the government body of “rank hypocrisy” for breaching OECD guidelines by supporting overseas fossil fuel projects.

Solar demand could fall by as much as 16% due to a reliance on production in China

Solar demand could fall for first time in 30 years due to Coronavirus

BloombergNEF (BNEF) analysis suggests that the ramifications of the Coronavirus (Covid-19) will lead to downgrades in forecasts for renewables deployment and electric vehicle (EV) development, with solar capacity set to fall 16% compared to previous estimates.

Forestry growth and rapid deployment of renewables could put the UK on course for its net-zero target

UK's net-zero target possible with 'unprecedented' low-carbon innovation

Reaching net-zero emissions in the UK by 2050 is possible but would require "unprecedented innovation across the economy" that could see electricity generation triple, hydrogen generation grow exponentially and land use to be radically overhauled across the country.

An artist's impression of the facility, showing its rooftop solar array and battery storage modules. Image: Gridserve

Ground broken at UK's first rapid-charging EV forecourt

Work has begun today (10 March) on the installation of an "electric forecourt" featuring rapid electric vehicle (EV) chargers, battery storage and onsite renewables in Essex, meaning the facility will open for public use this summer.

Anglian Water says it has completed nature surveys to ensure the array does not negatively impact biodiversity at the Grafham Water site

'Another step towards net-zero': Anglian Water invests in onsite solar at key site

Anglian Water has unveiled plans to install an 11.6MW solar array at one of its key operational sites, as part of its plan to become a net-zero business by 2030.