What is a Solar Farm?
A solar farm – also known a photovoltaic (PV) power station amongst the solar energy enthusiasts – is essentially a large collection of PV solar panels that absorb energy from the sun and convert that energy into electricity. That electricity is sent to a power grid for distribution and for consumption by individuals like you and me.
The Pros Of Solar Farms
What makes solar energy so exciting is the capacity for it to exist as a renewable source of energy; there will always be consistent sunlight shining on the earth’s surface, and once converted into electricity, there will still be an infinite amount of sunlight to turn into electricity in the future (we’ll discuss the pros and the cons of solar energy shortly). When observing solar farms, which typically exist across hundreds of acres of land, we can begin to imagine the scale of houses, businesses and industries that can be powered with this interconnection of solar panels, all harvesting large amounts of solar energy at the same time.
Since the 2010s the solar energy industry has boomed and investments in the installation of solar panels has been exhibited by some of the largest nations and economies of the world. As solar energy can be harvested and transformed into electricity in almost any part of the globe (you just need sunlight to hit the surface), solar energy makes a suitable choice when big players such as governments and transnational companies are looking to spend their cash on greener energy sources. While some regions of the world, such as Australia, have access to larger volumes and more consistent amounts of solar energy, other regions like the UK can still benefit massively from solar panels and the development of solar farms. In the UK there are currently over 400 solar farms, most of which supply power to properties in their coverage area.
The Cons Of Solar Farms
Solar farms do, however, have a relatively high initial industry cost due to the need to extract raw and rare materials like silver to produce the solar PV panels. On the plus side, once constructed and in operation, solar energy obtained through solar farms is totally emissions-free, creating a net savings in emissions when compared to other energy sources. You could always give Deege Solar a call for further advice, information or a quote on a solar panel installation or installing a solar farm.
The Largest Solar Farm In The World
Solar farms can also be rather spacious and are usually developed in more rural locations. A prime example of this is the Bhadla Solar Park, also referred to as the world’s largest solar farm. Situated in Rajasthan, India, this mega solar farm is positioned across a staggering 14,000 acres and spread across five rural villages. The solar farm is composed of 37 separate solar plants.
The park was administered by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy as part of India’s new plan to expand its renewable energy portfolio. Construction began in 2016 and an estimated $1.4 billion (£1.015bn) in financial investment was pumped into creating this solar farm. With a current capacity of 2.25GW and plans to generate 100GW of solar power by 2022, Bhadla Solar Park currently constitutes 10 per cent of the total power consumption in Rajasthan!
Solar Farms In The UK
Moving a little closer to home, a British solar farm will power approximately 1,500 homes for a year for every 5 megawatts (MW) installed. In terms of the land needed to achieve this, around 25 acres is required for every 5MW of installation. Individuals living in solar-powered households can:
- Reap the rewards of a cheaper, cleaner and renewable power source through solar energy.
- Solar energy can also help alleviate issues such as fuel poverty so that everyone can access power and electricity equally.
- Source their power locally, successfully shrinking their carbon footprint as extracting and utilising polluting and finite fossil fuels is not necessary.
The UK’s high winds also work to naturally cool solar PV modules that are installed on houses and across solar farms. While the UK isn’t the sunniest spot on the planet, its high winds lead to higher efficiencies in energy harvesting.
The Largest Solar Farm In The UK
Shotwick Solar Park is not only the UK’s largest solar farm, but the biggest private-wire solar park in Europe. This means that while many solar farms generate power for both businesses and for domestic use, this farm supplies local private infrastructure with much of its electricity demands. Commissioned in March 2016, Shotwick Solar Park is spread across 250 acres and produces 72.2MW a year.
Making waves in the UK solar scene is upcomer Cleve Hill Solar Farm, which will be the biggest of all the solar farms in the UK once constructed. Given the green-light by the British government just last year, this Kent-based solar farm will cover 900 acres of land and will generate 350MW of clean and green renewable energy. This solar farm will also:
- Generate enough power for 91,000 homes.
- Consist of 800,000 ground mounted solar panels.
- Cost £450m to develop.
- Potentially boost biodiversity in the area by an impressive 65%.
- Create £1m a year in revenue for local authorities.
Have You Got Land For A Solar Farm?
We can happily conclude that the use of solar energy is fast-growing across the world and by many different players. Its potential to exist as a clean, renewable and accessible source of energy goes to show its immense potential as a power source in an ever developing and ever-expanding planet of people, industry and material goods. If you own land in the UK that could be potentially used for a Solar Farm, get in touch! Together, we can make a difference, by powering more of the UK on Solar Energy.