Solar energy is the fastest-growing source of power worldwide (according to the International Energy Agency) and it’s on track to become the world’s largest electricity source by 2050.
Here’s ten reasons why:
Solar energy is a truly renewable energy source.
We cannot run out of it (at least until we run out of the sun in circa 5 billion years).
The more energy you can get by way of solar farms the lower your energy bills could be.
The Solar Trade Association believes that the ‘cheap electricity from solar farms could put £425m back into consumers’ pockets through reduced energy bills by 2030”.
Solar farms are fantastic news for creatures great and small.
What can solar farms do to help Britain’s wildlife and rare species? Quite a lot as it turns out. As solar farms will be in place for 30-40 years and require minimal human disturbance to maintain, they enable a range of conservation initiatives to be put in place. Think hedgerows and wildflower meadows, think of the biodiversity, and then think about everything that calls them home.
That’s because solar farms are dual use (they’re not just for solar panels).
You don’t have to replace the agricultural use of a land with solar when you develop a solar farm, the two can and do still work together. Often our solar farms typically take up just a very small proportion of the land that we lease, which is why you’ll often see sheep grazing amongst solar panels. Farmers can harvest solar energy and the things they used to (if they choose to).
Whilst the panels aren’t flexible (yet), the energy truly is.
Due to technological advances in battery technology, solar power can now happily meet the peaks in energy demand on a cold winter’s evening.
It can be used to distil water and it can be used to power satellites.
In combination with battery storage, solar energy can be used to do pretty much anything that requires power whenever it is needed.
In comparison to other forms of renewable energy, solar farms require next to no maintenance.
They even clean themselves (using rain fall). Why does this matter? It means that they’re all the better at keeping your energy bills down. And of course they’re fuelled by the sun, which is also free.
There’s no denying (although some people still try to) that climate change is the greatest existential threat facing the planet.
If we carry on as we are, things are going to get a lot worse. Solar energy can play a significant, cost effective role in reducing the C02 emissions that are already having a cataclysmic impact on the world today (but you probably already knew that). And if you don’t believe that now, you probably never will, until it’s too late.
Whilst this may not be a fashionable argument, farmers are the custodians of the countryside, and we should be supporting them.
Brexit probably isn’t going to do landowners and farmers many favours. Those of them that choose to invest in solar are more likely to be able to continue to support the rural economy in the many ways they do already. Essentially, solar farms support the agricultural economy – they don’t replace it.
Whilst the renewables sector and the infrastructure and industry that supports it, is a UK success story, it’s now abundantly clear that it’s local communities themselves that have to benefit from solar energy in order for the country as a whole to benefit.
We are exploring some ingenious ways to ensure that the benefits from our developments are available to everyone in the communities that we are working in. We will share more details on these ideas as the projects progress.