In a country that sees roughly half the annual days of sunshine that Australia does, renewable energy projects in the UK seem to be popping up like . . . well – like sunflowers in a greenhouse.
Wind power is already massive industry in Britain, producing around five gigawatts (5GW) of renewable electricity per year. But now a Dorset company is planning to build the UK’s first solar power plant on 15 hectares of land currently set aside for turf cultivation.
The company, Eco Sustainable Solutions, says the solar farm will use 30,000 solar panels to generate approximately five megawatts (5MW) of electrical power which, based on average UK household figures, will meet the electricity needs of 1,100 homes. It will also save more than 1,100 tonnes of carbon emissions each year.
Eco Managing Director Trelawney Dampney says he hopes the project, called Parley Solar Farm, will start a trend towards more large-scale solar energy generation plants across the UK.
“Climate change is the biggest issue facing the world at the current time. The establishment of Parley Solar Farm will represent a small step towards meeting the UK government’s commitment to reduce carbon emissions by 20 per cent by 2020.”
Large-scale solar projects have the potential to benefit from the same feed-in tariff arrangements that have provided the wind farming industry with such a boost in recent times, adding over one GW of new wind power capacity during 2009, 800 MW onshore and 285 MW offshore.
Trelawney says Parley Solar Farm will also include anaerobic digestion and biomass facilities. In total, the company plans to produce around 12MW of electricity annually.