The disappearance of aeroplane contrails and a reduction in air pollution has allowed much stronger sunlight to reach the ground and resulted in bumper production of solar power. Falling demand due to the Covid-19 lockdown and the increase in renewable energy means that EDF, the owner of the Sizewell C nuclear power station in Suffolk, is being paid millions of pounds to run it at 50% capacity to avoid blackouts from oversupply. It has been particularly sunny these last eight weeks and more solar farms are coming online so it is not surprising that output records have been broken. Even older installations, such as the panels on my own roof, installed eight years ago, have broken daily production records several times since lockdown began. This can only be down to cleaner air. With solar panels at ever lower prices and large-scale battery storage now a viable option, there are record numbers of subsidy-free, commercial-scale solar farms in the planning pipeline. In addition, many companies with factories and offices with flat roofs have realised that they can save substantially on electricity bills by installing solar panels. This market has been quietly booming.
Guardian 18th May 2020 read more »