Solar PV generation falls 5.9% in 2021 despite increases in capacity

Solar PV generation falls 5.9% in 2021 despite increases in capacity

Published: 13 May 2022, 11:12

The decrease in solar generation came alongside similar decreases in output of other renewable technologies. Image: Getty

Solar generation fell by 5.9% in 2021 compared to 2020, with renewables generation decreasing across the board as a result of less favourable weather conditions.

The decrease in solar generation was a result of lower average daily sun hours, while wind generation fell 14% due to below average wind speeds, according to the latest figures from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

However, an additional 337MW of solar PV capacity, mostly microgeneration schemes of less than 50kW, combined with longer average sun hours boosted solar generation by 24% in Q4 2021 compared to Q4 2020.

Wind also increased in Q4 compared to the same quarter in 2020, rising by 3.3%, while renewable generation overall increased by 4% during the quarter.

For 2021 as a whole, renewable generation decreased by 9.5% to 121.9TWh, although this was down from record highs achieved during 2020. Indeed, generation from renewables in 2021 is still the second highest on record, BEIS said.

Criticism has previously been levied at figures produced from BEIS regarding solar deployment, with Solar Energy UK – then the Solar Trade Association – stating in 2020 that the monthly deployment stats released by the government department were incomplete, and that publishing them is “extremely negligent”.  BEIS has previously told Solar Power Portal it was committed to working with the solar industry to improve its solar statistics.

In today’s Energy Trends document, BEIS outlined how it is making its statistics more accurate and complete as new data sources become available, with statisticians conducting this work in conjunction with Sheffield Solar and Solar Energy UK, stating that these discussions are ongoing.

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