The first ground-mounted solar power station in Britain has now been given the go ahead by the council. You may recall that we reported on these plans last month, but that approval had not yet been granted by the council. Well now 35 Degrees, the company who will be building the solar power generator, can begin work.
The site, an abandoned tin mine, covers an area of 7.3 acres and once the five thousand solar panels have been set up it will be able to generate enough power for 300 households, at 1.34 kWh (kilowatt hours) annually. It will be the first of its kind in the UK, and it is the perfect place for it because Cornwall has, on average, the highest proportion of sunlight in the UK.
In fact 35 Degree’s managing director expects Cornwall to be the centre of a growth sector in the UK regarding renewable energy. Not just solar energy, but also other sorts of renewable energy such as wind power and tidal power. The Council sees this as being mutually beneficial as well, since it will create jobs, infrastructure and a new industry to the area. Investment in renewable energy in the region is expected to reach as much as £1 billion, which should prove to be very beneficial to the local economy.
Of course, one of the reasons for the upsurge in popularity in solar energy is the government’s feed-in tariff scheme. This program pays you, whether you are a business, a private individual, or even a public entity like a council, for the energy which you produce from solar panels. It is guaranteed for 25 years and over that period of time will more than pay for the costs of installation, it will actually make you a profit. That is why there has been a marked increase in the amount of solar cells being installed by people on their roofs, and why other companies are so interested in getting involved in it now.
The company which will be working with 35 Degrees to construct this solar farm is called Solon SE, which is a European company, and one of the leaders in the construction of PV cells. However the council is trying to ensure that all of the business ventures in this area will also make use of local firms, and for this project “Plug into the Sun,” which is a solar business in Cornwall, will also be involved.
Therefore, this venture is likely going to be good for business as well as good for the environment. In fact, that is true for the whole solar energy sector in this country at the moment, it is both profitable and highly beneficial for the environment. And as non-renewable energy costs naturally rise, the technology for renewable energy will naturally fall so the situation will continue to improve into the future. Right now, however, the best thing for everybody to do is to get solar panels installed, as they will pay for themselves in short order both from the feed-in tariff and the saving that will be made on household energy bills.