Solar PV technology was originally developed for off grid uses such as watches, calculators and space applications. Recently the price of generating power from UV panels has plummeted. It is expected to reach “grid-parity” by the end of the decade. This means that it should cost the same to generate one’s own solar power as it does to buy it from an electricity supply company.
Solar panels can be installed on roofs or fixed to the ground (“ground-mounted”). They are silent in operation, have no moving parts and maintenance requirements are virtually zero. Since the introduction of the “Feed-In Tariff” both types of projects are becoming increasingly common in our towns and countryside. According to planning guidance from the National Solar Centre, the ideal sites are flat, well screened by hedges, tree lines, etc. and should not cause undue impact to nearby domestic properties or roads. Ideally this would be grade 3b, 4 or 5 land.
Installed capacity is growing rapidly, and the central forecast in DECC’s solar strategy envisages that the UK is likely to reach 10GW by 2020.
A tracking survey conducted quarterly for DECC by an independent research organisation has shown consistently high levels of public support for the use of renewable energy. Interviews conducted with 2,103 UK adults in September 2013 showed 82% of respondents support the use of solar energy to generate the UK’s electricity. Only 4% are opposed.