A record amount of solar power was generated on Friday as Britain basked in sunshine and temperatures of up to 28C, the National Grid has said.
It said 8.7 gigawatts (GW) had been generated at lunchtime, representing 24.3% of total generation across the UK. The level tops the previous record of 8.48GW set on 10 May. In April, Britain went a full day without using coal to generate electricity for the first time since the 1880s.
Duncan Burt, head of control room operations at National Grid, called it the “beginning of a new era”. “We now have significant volumes of renewable energy on the system,” he said. “We also have the tools available to ensure we can balance supply and demand.”
Alongside the contribution from solar, 23% of power came from nuclear sources, 30% from natural gas and just 1.4% from coal. Wind, hydro power and biomass were also used. The government hopes to close all coal-fired power plants by 2025 and coal accounted for just 9% of electricity generation in 2016 – down from 23% the year before.