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Sunny Weekend Brings New Solar Record in March

03 Apr 15:00 by Steve Walia

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As Britain moved to its summer-time hours, the sunny weather wasn't simply a boon to people enjoying the weekend: it also meant that solar energy hit a new record high in the UK.

For the first time on record, the level of power required by houses and businesses on Saturday afternoon was higher at night than in the day, because demand was cut so greatly during daytime hours by solar PV panels.

The National Grid described the occurrence as being a 'huge milestone'. For the National Grid, solar energy that is generated on its distribution networks leads to lower electricity demand.

The extra sunshine allowed solar PV panels on roofs and in fields to generate six times more electricity than conventional UK power stations on the Saturday.

Ongoing good weather into Monday also meant that solar technologies continued to generate significant amounts of energy into the week - up to 15pc of total power generation.

The National Grid's daily operations manager, Duncan Burt, said that that the rules of the past had been turned upside down by demand being lower during the day than overnight. He said that the occurrence was a fascinating indication of the vast changes being seen in Britain's energy landscape.

Power demand typically peaks between 4pm and 6pm in early spring, as people come home from work. Demand is even less during the weekends. The small hours of the morning typically have the lowest demand of all. The reversal of demand patterns is a dramatic one.

Surprisingly, March is a good month for solar PV, because of the angle that the sun hits the panels at, and because they actually operate more effectively when temperatures are lower. Sunny days between the two equinox dates can generate up to 95.GW.