Octopus posts record UK solar output

26 July 2018 Week 29 Issue 618

UK renewables investor Octopus has recorded its highest solar generation levels from its UK portfolio following the UK’s recent spell of hot sunny weather.

In the 30 days to July 22, the Octopus portfolio of solar arrays generated 155 million kWh of energy, 19% more than forecasted.

Matt Setchell, Head of Octopus’ Energy Investments team, commented: “You often hear of record national outputs from wind farms based on our much-loved British climate, but the same can be said for UK solar power during sunny spells like the one we are currently enjoying.

The solar sector has long lagged behind the UK’s booming wind sector in terms of capacity and output. Solar capacity currently stands at 12,000 MW, compared to 20,000 MW for wind.

Crucially, the load factor for solar capacity was just 5.2% in the first quarter of 2018, according to UK government figures, compared to 34% for onshore wind and 50% for offshore.

This means that wind output in the three months to March reached 17.7 billion kWh, compared to 1.5 billion kWh for solar.

“This is a perfect example of how important it is to develop a truly diversified energy mix, to ensure we maximise all our natural resources at any given time. We have been investing in UK onshore renewables for over 8 years, and are as confident as ever that the energy transition is alive and well in this country and we are proud to be helping drive it forward.”

Octopus owns 154 solar farms in the UK, and says it provides 40% of the country’s solar output.

The company has also completed the GBP174 million (US$229 million) refinancing of its biomass and landfill gas portfolio, making it one of the largest transactions of its kind and the first major UK biomass deal in 2018.

The biomass portfolio, which Octopus acquired on behalf of its investors in 2015, includes five biomass plants and 22 landfill sites. With a combined generational capacity of 172 MW, the projects make up the UK’s largest independently owned biomass and landfill gas portfolio. 

Edited by

Richard Lockhart


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