It can’t have escaped your notice that much of the UK was bathed in glorious sunshine for the duration of the early May bank holiday weekend - and this has had a positive effect on more than just people’s moods.
Bloomberg revealed that the sunshine provided more energy to homes around the country than any other energy source during these three days.
On Sunday 6 May, solar power generated 26.9 per cent of the nation’s electricity supply, marginally higher than gas, data from Drax Plc showed. This all comes after the country managed a record 75 hours without using any coal power at the end of April.
According to the news provider, solar energy generation in the UK is expected to grow in the coming years, reaching 18 gigawatts by 2023, compared to the 13 gigawatts it currently accounts for.
To put this in perspective, if the UK reaches 16 gigawatts of solar power by 2021, as it is forecast to do, this increase is enough to prevent every nuclear power plant in the nation from powering up for a few hours on every sunny afternoon.
A report published recently by Arup explored the future of energy generation in the UK in 2035, making a number of interesting predictions. Among them is the fact that the country’s energy supply has become increasingly decentralised.
This means that microgrids, such as those established within new towns and residential developments, universities, airports and industrial parks, are playing an increasingly important role in reducing the pressure on the grid and ensuring that energy generated locally is predominantly that used.
By 2035, Arup expects this decentralised capacity to account for between 34 and 45 per cent of the UK’s generation capacity, up from the 27 per cent recorded in 2016.
For homeowners, there are clearly opportunities to take advantage of these growing microgrids and even establish your own way of generating power for your home, such as through solar PV installations.
Newer homes are expected to be virtually energy neutral, with some even exporting energy back to the grid. Solar battery storage will also become more prevalent among UK households, allowing them to save some of the energy they generate on sunny days to power homes when the weather is poorer.
Arup’s report also predicts a change in the way we travel by 2035, anticipating that all new vehicles will be electric, plug-in hybrid or hydrogen powered and that a new transport-as-a-service industry will have been established.
This will utilise autonomous electric vehicles and will change the way in which people travel around the country, the firm is predicting.
Head of energy economics at Arup Filippo Gado told Scottish Construction Now that the coming few decades are expected to be “amongst the most transformative” for the energy sector.
“For this investment to enable positive change, flexibility across energy systems and within regulation will be essential in order to achieve a sustainable, affordable and low-carbon future,” he asserted.
With the government seeking to reduce carbon emissions across the UK, and renewable energy becoming an increasingly affordable option, you may want to look into how you can make your home more sustainable and whether you could benefit from installing your own energy generation systems.