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Load factor of electricity from solar PV in the United Kingdom (UK) 2010 to 2019

The load factor of electricity from solar photovoltaics has seen an overall increase since 2010, amounting to 11.2 percent in 2019. However, this was a minor decrease from the previous year and significantly lower when compared to the load factors of other renewable sources. This can be explained by the lack of consistency in the number of sunny days recorded. In comparison, the load factor for offshore wind reached 39 percent.

Capacity and generation

In 2018, solar PV accounted for 29.6 percent of the total renewable capacity. However, its share of renewable electricity generation was just 11.7 percent. This was due to the relatively low load factor. In 2010, electricity generated by solar PV amounted to 41 gigawatt-hours. By 2018 this had increased to more than 12,800 gigawatt-hours.

Turnover and employment drop

  In 2018 the UK’s solar PV industry reported a turnover of 1.8 billion euros. This was an increase of more than 500 million euros compared to the previous year. As turnover increased, so did employment figures. In 2018 there were approximately 6,600 employees in the sector, but the following year this number dropped by more than half due to cuts to subsidies.

Load factor of electricity from solar photovoltaics in the United Kingdom (UK) from 2010 to 2019

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Release date

July 2020


United Kingdom

Survey time period

2010 to 2019

Supplementary notes

Load factor is based on average beginning and end of year capacity. For further details on the calculation see Dukes 2015 Chapter 6, paragraph 6.24.

Load factor is defined as the average load divided by the peak load in a specific time period.

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