Spotted in The Times Online last week was this story about how the UK is about to undergo a Solar Boom following the earlier tariff subsidies announced.
The story centres around the development of new solar farms in the Gloucestershire countryside (immortalised by the author Laurie Lee in Cider With Rosie) as generating companies realise that with the subsidies, investing in large scale solar farms will yield a return of around 8%, despite solar panels being six times more expensive per unit compared to onshore wind turbines.
Whilst the plans are sure to engage a lively debate on the impact on the look of the countryside, supporters are claiming that the solar panels, which will track the sun automatically won’t be much taller than the surrounding hedges, with a minimal impact.
Compare this to the high visual impact of wind turbines.
In fact, there’s already talk of incorporating both wind and solar on the same plots of land. The idea being that when one source is low i.e little wind, the sunlight will continue to generate the power and vice-versa.
Announcements are expected within the next few weeks on the location of the first solar farm. The 5 megawatt solar farm is part of a larger plan to generate 500 megawatts by 2020, by the company Ecotricity.
photo credit: ukcider