Solar panel farms provide us with a renewable source of energy, but some believe their effectiveness is questionable. With the government set to close all power stations that rely on coal to operate by 2025, solar energy farms are becoming increasingly popular.
What are they?
Solar energy essentially means energy that is produced using the sun. Solar panel farms are large scale powerplants that utilise energy produced by the sun by capturing it using solar panels and converting it to clean renewable energy.
Solar panel farms can be built in a fairly short space of time, meaning that commercial energy suppliers can build them as demand requires.
Unlike other power plants, solar farms don’t damage the environment around them, meaning that wildlife and plants surrounding them don’t suffer.
How are they helping us?
Compared to coal or nuclear energy plants, solar plants provide us with a clean renewable energy source.
With experts warning about the effects of global warming and the future of our planet, it is understandable that energy companies are opting for renewable solutions.
The solar industry is rapidly growing and is thought to be the solution to end the world’s use of fossil fuels and help to protect against global warming.
How effective are they?
Solar panels that are used in solar farms are fairly efficient and have efficiency ratings of around 20%. This means that panels can convert around 20% of sunlight into electricity.
Although this may not seem like much, the sun produces a large amount of energy without the need to burn any fuel and release toxins into the environment.
The UK’s largest solar farm in Dorset can provide electricity to approximately 60,000 homes on a sunny day.
Should we be creating more?
Energy companies will likely create more solar farms to keep up with the electricity demands of the UK in future. With their success in converting the sun’s energy efficiently, it is easy to see why solar farms are becoming so popular.
Pros of solar farms
- They allow us to use energy that is both clean and renewable
- They can be built quickly to meet demands
- They don’t have a negative impact on natural life surrounding them.
Cons of solar farms
- They require land space
- They require a fair amount of planning and seeking permission is an arduous process
- To be the most efficient they require a large amount of sunlight.
Although solar farms do require a fair amount of land space, it is estimated that 25 acres of land is enough to install solar panels that will provide energy to 1500 homes.
Furthermore, although the UK isn’t the sunniest of places, solar panels can produce energy on overcast days and even during times with lots of rain.
The positives of solar energy are clear to see, creating clean and renewable energy without harming our natural surroundings should be a goal that most energy companies strive towards as we move forward towards a more environmentally friendly society.
Solar panel effectiveness is currently fairly good but it is likely to increase in future as innovators work towards more efficient ways of generating solar energy.
Converting energy from the sun means that energy companies can use sources of energy that occur naturally and hopefully reverse some of the damage that has been caused by irresponsible energy production in the past.
As solar farms can be installed fairly quickly compared to other power plants, More energy companies will likely start to test the use of solar energy, until we ultimately end up with all electricity being solar-generated.