Sunday, July 31, 2011

What Price Solar Power

As the threat of destruction of my home area becomes ever more real, I become an increasingly implacable opponent of onshore wind power. Inevitably this stimulates interest in other forms of energy. The biggest change for me personally was to accept that new nuclear generating capacity should be built. I now support Horizon Wylfa 'B' proposals on Ynys Mon - onshore wind or not. I also feel less antagonistic towards offshore wind, because the turbines are less intrusive. The two most significant undeveloped 'ideas' floating around are shale/other forms of gas which exist under our ground, and a Severn Barrage. the latter depends on the private sector working up a scheme that will not require Government money - so it will have to be an absolutely massive scheme to generate enough money from associated development to pay for it.

But we shouldn't forget the smaller contributors. Quite a bit of solar has come on board this last year or so. Unfortunately commercial solar development ended today. The level of Government subsidy which had been so generous that so many solar farms were planned that the cost to Government promised to become unacceptable. I did read somewhere that 100 Mw of solar power was created in the UK in 2010 - that's about 40 turbines-worth. And about 8000 Mw of solar was developed in Germany in the same year. That's about 3,000 turbines-worth. Can this possibly be true I ask myself. with luck some knowledgeable person will visit this post and enlighten us. And then theere's the 'Green Deal' to reduce demand - but that's for another day.


Anonymous said...

it's such a shame, that the Govt cant sponsor/pay for a solar panel on every house. we have one, which only produces hot water (winter and summer) it has reduced our leccie costs quite a bit (no gas here in the sticks). If we could afford it we would have more panels put up, but sadly the inital cost is quite prohibitive.
I am strongly opposed to windfarms and have been for some time, initally a few were quite nice, but now they are everywher and a blot on the landscape of Mid Wales...and the new ones are much much bigger than the inital ones at Mochdre..

Tobi said...

Unfortunately, your calculations are not correct.
1 MW of photovoltaic (PV) solar panels in a perfectly south-facing location in, say, Welshpool, will produce around 0.9GWh (900,000 units) electricity per year (source: PVGIS). 1 MW of wind turbine put on a windy Welsh hill will produce around 2.3GWh (based on a 25% load factor), almost three times as much.
Researchers at the Powys-based Centre for Alternative Technology have taken a careful look at how we could power the whole of the UK from renewable energy in their Zero Carbon Britain 2030 report and concluded that while energy efficiency and solar power will definitely have to play a role, we will need a lot of wind power, both on- and offshore.
A PV panel on every roof is something politicians should definitely support, but it won't be enough to power the UK when the fossil fuel binge is over.

Anonymous said...

The same power companies will also be called on to self fund the new generation of nuclear power stations. Will you be victimising them when they push energy prices up to fund these?
Even so, the new generation of nuclear will only provide around 20% of the UK's energy needs. Could we afford to become 100% reliant on nuclear?
Solar, wind and nuclear along with other renewables will play an important mix in generating our future energy needs.
Shame you won't focus on becoming less reliant on depleating fossil fuels which is a real excuse why our utility bills are constantly rising.

Anon said...

How can you accept electricity supplied to you on PYLONS all across North Wales from proposed Wylfa B and yet not accept Pylons in Montgomeryshire to supply CLEAN energy to the National grid?

solar panels herefordshire said...

What really worries me about all this was the fact the very companies are saying they have no choice but to increase all are gas and energy bills have has some of there largest profit margins. Seem like this is a massive con by the energy firms to me.

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