Solar drove an increase in the UK’s renewable energy consumption in 2015


Renewable energy accounted for the biggest piece of the U.K.’s energy mix that is has ever had in 2015. This reflected large increases in wind, solar and biofuel electricity generation, in a year that domestic electricity costs went down.

The U.K. government released its official Energy Trends and Energy Prices figures for 2015 today, showing that overall energy production was up, while electricity bills went down. Most encouraging is that the figures showed that renewable energy is on the rise.

Overall renewable electricity generation was 83.3 TWh in 2015, which is a significant increase of 29% from the 64.7 TWh of electricity that was generated by renewables in 2014. This resulted in renewables increasing their share of the total electricity generation to a record 24.7%, up 5.6% from 19.1% in 2014. This was in part due to a large increase of 22% in renewable electricity capacity, finishing the year with a total capacity of 30GW.

A good year for solar PV

One of the most outstanding statistics for renewables last year was the 86% rise in solar electricity generation up to 7.6 TWh, which was the largest percentage increase across the renewables. Solar capacity also had a significant rise of 68% from 5,378MW to 8,915MW. This capacity rise helped with solar output, even though there were slightly less average daily sunlight hours in 2015.

Overall, solar PV accounted for 9.1% of all of the renewable electricity that was generated in 2015, compared to 6.3% in 2014. This is an encouraging climb, however it may not be expected to continue for long, as cuts to subsidies for the large-scale solar installations are likely to see growth in the market significantly decrease from 2016 onwards.

“The 62% increase in number of solar PV deployments since February 2015 is extraordinary and represents the success that is possible when a collaborative and supportive government policy is coupled with an innovative and driven industry,” said Lauren Cook, Solar Policy Analyst for UK Solar. “This increase took place under the old policy framework. The Government cuts that kicked in this January are beginning to bite – solar PV deployment from January to February 2016 was 92 per cent lower than between January to February 2015.”