Yes Energy News and Insights

UK Solar Energy Shifts Load Profile: An Analysis

The rise in installed solar capacity across Europe has caused many changes within the energy market. In the UK, there has been a shift in the country’s load profile due to the increase in embedded unmetered solar generation. 

An Example

The data published by Elexon for UK INDO (the UK’s initial national demand outturn) includes metered generation in the actuals but has unmetered or embedded generation “baked in” the load actuals. Simply put, when it’s sunny and there are high levels of solar radiation, you can see a midday dip in the load actuals. 

This is demonstrated below, during a week in July 2023. The fourth saw low solar radiation in Bournemouth and hence a flat midday, while the rest of the week observed almost three times as much radiation, resulting in a dip in the actuals that coincides with the high solar irradiance.

TESLA energy forecast for UK INDO

Since 2014, the UK has seen installed solar capacity grow by around 12.5 GW, which has had the greatest impact on the summer months.

Take January for example, one of the colder, darker, and less sunny months in the UK. Graphed below are the average half-hourly weather-corrected actuals per year from 2007 to now. Since 2007, there has been a consistent evening peak with the average peak demand hours remaining between 17:00 and 20:00, with a flat rest of the day. The increase in solar capacity has no effect on shape, since there isn’t much solar radiation.

impact of UK solar energy in January

However, the same story does not apply to July, one of the UK’s sunnier months. 17 years ago, the UK’s load profile saw a morning peak and a gradual decline through the day. As installed solar began growing, we can see that below the brown line of 2014, the average shape started shifting. With more solar-produced energy off the grid, INDO’s middle of the day begins dipping and what was once a morning high turns into an evening peak.

impact of UK solar energy in July

Our UK Solar Forecast

The ever-changing landscape of energy as markets move toward renewables can cause uncertainties and questions about how demand will behave. We incorporate both a solar and wind capacity series in our UK GB INDO model to forecast these changing patterns in demand and accurately capture the embedded effects on load.

Learn more about our energy forecasts and how they can help you make better trading decisions. We're committed to providing data-driven solutions for power traders to help you Win the Day AheadTM.


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