The UK solar energy generation is set to reach 15 per cent of the country's overall electricity supply this afternoon, industry experts said, as solar farms across the country open to the public for an annual open day.
The experts predicted that the 15 per cent mark is set to be achieved at 2pm today and with a little help of the UK government, they say the number could double within the next five years.
"Solar power in the UK is an astonishing success story,” said Juliet Davenport , CEO of renewable electricity supplier Good Energy, which has opened the gates of its solar farm near Bude in Cornwall to the local community.
“Five years ago solar hardly existed in the UK, so it's amazing to see that today over 15 per cent of the UK's electricity is produced by solar.”
The industry experts believe that if the government continues its support, the cost of solar energy generation could drop to the levels of fossil fuel power by 2020.
As part of the celebrations of the ‘Solar Independence Day’, solar-powered homes, commercial rooftop installations as well as large-scale solar farms across the country will be open to visitors today and tomorrow.
Locations ranging from a housing estate in Northumberland, a stately home in Aberdeenshire, a community-owned solar farm and a waste facility in Berkshire will all be showing off their clean power installations.
"It's great to see so many solar home owners and businesses get involved in solar independence day, showing how solar really gives power back to the people, allowing households and businesses to generate their own clean, green electricity,” said Paul Barwell, chief executive of the Solar Trade Association.
"At more than 80 per cent public support, solar has been shown in government opinion polls to be the country's most popular form of energy."
According to estimates, there are currently more than 709,000 solar installations in the UK with many more planned.
While solar panels are an intermittent source of power, a new generation of batteries - which home owners could install in their homes - will allow them store the electricity they generate from the sun for use in the evenings.
"Solar is an integral part of the UK's energy mix,” said Energy Minister Andrea Leadsom. “It's great to see industry initiatives like this boosting confidence and take-up, so hardworking families and businesses can benefit from low-carbon energy and lower bills."