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Ealing Council To Install Solar Panels On More Properties

Councils around the UK are most supportive of solar panelling when it comes to installing them on many of their own office buildings and also on council homes occupied by their tenants. Such action will go a long way in helping carbon emission targets being achieved in the coming years.

Ealing Council are spending £1 million on adding solar panels to more of their council houses

Ealing Council are to install solar panels on more of their housing stock

Therefore, it is pleasing to hear that Ealing Council is continuing to add solar panels to more of its council housing stock in the locality. Apparently, they are investing an additional £1 million to do this. It will involve the installation of a further 240 solar photovoltaic panels and this will no doubt reduce the energy bills of those tenants living in the properties. This is a welcome benefit to those involved especially in the current economic climate.

By the time the installation work is completed there will be almost 600 homes in the London Borough of Ealing that will have solar panels fitted. The council estimate that the feed-in-tariff scheme and the clean energy cashback scheme will help the council recover the cost of installing the panels over a period of ten years. After that, it is expected that further money will be raised for as much as another 10 years that can be used to improve council properties.

The council are to be commended for further increasing their housing stock that will have solar panels fitted. It is expected that work will commence on this project around 1 March 2015. The residents that are chosen to receive these panels will no doubt be pleased to benefit from them.

Let us hope that councils around the country continue to add solar panels to many of their properties. As many organisations, businesses and residents as possible need to install them to help in the UK’s renewable energy program. Feel free to let us know about any interesting schemes that are or have taken place so that we can consider publishing them.

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Largest UK Solar Farm Built

It was only a couple of weeks ago that we reported on the largest solar farm being built in the world in the USA. Now we have heard of the biggest solar farm being completed here in the UK and being connected to the National Grid.

In order for the UK to meet its renewable energy and carbon emission targets many solar farms will need to be constructed

Solar farms should help the UK achieve its renewable energy target – Image credit: Michael Mees.

The solar farm is called Landmead and is located in the Oxfordshire countryside at Landmead Farm, East Hanney that is close to Abingdon. It has been developed jointly between First Solar and Belectric UK.

The 483,000 solar panels cover an extensive area of around 80 hectare. Its capacity is about 45MW and it is capable of providing sufficient power for around 14,000 domestic properties so this should go some way towards helping the UK achieve its renewable energy targets. In fact, it is estimated that in the region of 20 million kilograms of CO2 emissions will be removed from the atmosphere each year.

The ground-mounted solar panels have been constructed on grade 3 agricultural land that, apparently, is not suited for growing crops on it. The land is presently used for grazing sheep and the great thing is that the sheep will continue to carry on doing this.

Another benefit is that as the solar panels are no more than 2.2 metres high any cars driving past the solar farm will not even notice the solar panels as they are hidden behind hedges. Wildflowers are also to be planted on the site.

Back in December 2014, Foresight Solar Fund entered into a binding agreement to acquire the Landmead solar farm.

Landmead’s claim to fame could be somewhat short-lived as an even bigger solar farm is expected to be built this year in Norfolk. It is expected to have a capacity of around 49.9MW.

It will be interesting to monitor the possible development of future soar farms as there has been some opposition last year to their construction. Roof-mounted solar panels seem to be the favoured choice these days.

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Largest Solar Farm In The World Operational

It probably does not come as a surprise to you to read that the largest solar panel farm in the world is in the USA. However, what may stagger you is to hear just how big this new plant is.

The USA has built the largest solar farm in the world

Topaz Solar Farm

Located in the Carrizo Plain in California, it covers an area of around 9.5 square miles and is known as the Topaz Solar Farm. There are 9 million solar panels covering this huge expanse with a huge capacity of 550 megawatts. This level of capacity would produce enough power for about 160,000 homes. It is forecast that around 377,000 tonnes of carbon emissions will be removed from the atmosphere every year. The ground mounted solar panels only stand about 5 and a half feet of the surface of the land on which they have been placed.

Work started on building the solar farm back in 2011 and has cost in the region of £1.5 billion to build. It was not due to be completed until next year so it is pleasing to see that the work has been done ahead of schedule.

California has a target to have 33% of their electricity produced by renewable energy sources by 2020 so this new solar photovoltaic panel farm will go some way towards the state achieving that target.

However, this farm may not remain the largest for long as, in 2015, another one in the USA is due to be completed. It too is in California and is SunPower’s Solar Star with a capacity of 579 megawatts.

This just goes to show what can be achieved by countries around the world with regard to reducing carbon emissions and producing renewable energy. Let us hope that we continue to see similar projects on our planet as they can only prove beneficial.

As always, we welcome your views so do feel free to leave your comments.

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Will We See “Spray On Solar Panels” In The Future?

Over the years, we have witnessed solar panels appearing on the top of roofs around the world where they are usually ideally placed to capture the rays of the sun to achieve maximum benefit. They can also be spotted in peoples’ gardens where they are ground mounted.

scientists are researching about "spray on solar panels"

Are we likely to see “spray on solar panels”?

You can even find solar arrays in patches of countryside in various parts of the UK and we have also reported on one being constructed on a reservoir. In the main, solar photovoltaic panels are of a rigid construction. Some time ago, we also commented about an Australian building being constructed with tiles that incorporated solar panels in them.

However, this may be changing as scientists at the University of Toronto are researching the use of spraying solar cells onto surfaces that are flexible by utilizing very small light sensitive materials that are called colloidal quantum dots (CQDs). In due course, these scientists would love to see the spraying of solar cells onto your roof.

They could also be sprayed onto so many different things such as on the roof of a car to power some light bulbs. It is believed that this system would not result in any significant loss in the efficiency of these solar cells. Obviously, it would be necessary to work out how to further develop this process to make it marketable to the public.

It will be interesting to monitor how this research progresses in the coming months/years and also to find out how much a solar panel system like this costs in comparison to the traditional solar photovoltaic system.

We would welcome the views of all of you reading this post. What do you think about the above research? Do you think it possible that it could be developed to a point where it can be manufactured and go on sale to the general public?

We look forward to hearing from you.

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Percentage of Ground Mounted Solar Panel Installations Increase

Here in the UK, we cannot help but see the success of solar panel systems as they have been and continue to be installed across many rooftops on housing estates. This is no doubt going to continue as we strive to achieve our carbon emission targets.

there has been a growth in the % of ground mounted solar panel systems

The percentage of ground mounted solar panel systems has grown in comparison to roof mounted systems.

Perhaps, what is not so apparent is the huge volume of ground mounted solar panels that have been erected in recent years. It wasn’t until mid-way through 2010 that such installations started to take place. By the middle of the following year ground mounted solar panels accounted for about 30% of installations. By the beginning of 2014 they accounted for almost 50% of installations.

We are sure that you will agree this is a huge increase in the percentage of ground mounted solar panels and it will be interesting to monitor their progress. Apparently, it is likely that the % figure will exceed that of roof mounted solar panels shortly. This is interesting considering the occasions that we have mentioned about the likes of Sainsbury’s installing solar panels on the roofs of some of their buildings. Developments like theirs have no doubt had an impact.

Mind, thinking about it, there have been a lot of objections raised by communities to the siting of ground mounted solar photovoltaic arrays on agricultural land. On many occasions, they have raised an objection because they were felt to be unsightly. There are of course no doubt many solar arrays that are reasonably well hidden so why should people object to those.

Many years ago, some people took exception to industrial estates being built on the outskirts of towns. Nowadays, they seem to be more widely accepted. Is this likely to happen with solar panels that are installed at ground floor level?

Surely, if we are going to meet these carbon emission targets by 2020, there needs to be greater tolerance by more people to solar panels being erected on large solar farms across the UK.

As always, we welcome your thoughts.

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Solar Panel Cycle Path

It was only back in May of this year that we commented on the development of solar panels to be used on road networks in the USA. This was a system called Solar Roadways. Well, we have now heard about solar panels being used for a cycle path that we thought you would find of interest.

are solar panel cycle paths likely to become popular in the UK?

Will we see solar panel cycle paths in the UK in the future?

It probably does not come as a surprise to read that this bike path is in the vicinity of Amsterdam in Holland. The capital city of that country is renowned for the number of bicycles that are ridden by people whether it is for leisure purposes or to commute to and from work.

Apparently, the cycle path runs between Krommenie and Wormerveer that is used by around 2,000 commuters to cycle to and from work each day. The path is only about 230 feet. It has a solar surface to provide energy from the sun’s rays. Over a period of time it is expected that the path will be lengthened. It is to be opened on the 12th November 2014.

The path has been constructed using concrete modules and solar cells. Unfortunately, it will not generate as much power as solar photovoltaic panels on the roofs of homes as the panels have been laid fairly flat resulting in 30% less energy being produced.

The system is strong enough to take the weight of lorries so it possibly has the potential to be used on road systems in the future. This will be interesting because the energy generated could possibly be used to help provide the electricity for street lighting that is no doubt normally a considerable expense to local councils.

We do like to keep our readers up dated about interesting solar panel projects so feel free to let us know about any that you hear of and we will happily report on them.

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M & S Installing UK’s Largest Rooftop Solar Panel Array

Marks & Spencer PLC are one of the most well known high street retailers in the UK selling the likes of food, clothing and home furnishings. Like many retailers, in line with demand from customers, they have also moved into selling certain items online.

M and S are installing a solar panel array on the roof of its distribution centre in Castle Donington

Marks & Spencer is one of the best known retail outlets in the UK

You may be interested to know that M & S has commenced installing solar panels on the roof of its distribution centre in Castle Donington in Leicestershire. They are having in excess of 24,000 solar panels mounted on the roof of this commercial building covering an area of around 900,000 sq ft. This will make it the single, largest rooftop solar panel installation anywhere in the UK.This centre deals with the goods that the company sells through its website.

It is expected that the project will be finished in the early part of next year when it is forecast to provide almost enough energy to operate the distribution centre during the daytime. These solar panels will ensure a significant volume of carbon emissions will be removed from the atmosphere in the next few years.

Of course, M & S is not the only major retailer that is heavily into using solar panels to provide energy towards powering its buildings. We have previously reported about Sainsbury’s who, by the spring of next year, should have in the region of 170,000 solar panels installed on some of the premises that it occupies.

It is large solar panel arrays like these that will help the UK in its desire to achieve its renewable energy and carbon emission targets by 2020 as well as the many installations that take place atop the homes of people residing in the UK.

We are keen to hear about any other interesting solar photovoltaic panel schemes that have either been completed, are in the throes of installation or are going to be so feel free to leave your comments.

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Solar Panels Floating On Water

The majority of solar panel installations take place on either roofs of houses or commercial buildings or they are also ground mounted. The later tend to be less conspicuous for obvious reasons.

it appears reservoirs could provide useful space to have solar panels installed on their surface

Will we see more solar panels being installed on the surface of reservoirs?

In fact, there cannot be many of you reading this news article that have not seen solar panels atop the home of someone in the street that you live in – so popular have they become. Not only are they capable of reducing your energy bills but they also help reduce carbon emissions and that is good for the environment.

Well, whilst not believed to be a first in the world, we have heard of a solar panel development that is possibly the first of its kind in the UK. Apparently, a soft fruit farm in Berkshire has had solar panels installed on a reservoir of water.

There are 800 solar photovoltaic panels. They have been placed on plastic floats on the reservoir. The water from the reservoir is used to irrigate the fruit trees.

The fruit farm already use solar panels that were previously installed to provide power for various other things on the farm. Apparently, the cost of installing this latest set of solar panels cost £250,000.

This sounds like it was a very interesting project. It makes you think what an opportunity it could present on other reservoirs and lakes located around the UK. After all, many of them are never likely to have their surfaces used for anything and it seems such a waste of valuable space.

Presumably, the solar panel scheme on the reservoir mentioned above is cost effective so are we likely to see it happening more frequently? As always, we will let you know should we hear of this or any other interesting solar panel projects taking place in the future.

In the meantime, feel free to leave your comments about the above.

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IEA Feel Positive About Solar Power

The International Energy Agency (IEA) is involved in ensuring the 29 countries that are a member of it including the UK, USA and Germany but not China have clean, affordable and reliable energy. It has produced a report that is favorable towards solar power that is, potentially, good news for the solar photovoltaic industry.

the solar panel industry seems to have a bright future

The future continues to look bright for the solar panel industry

Apparently, it feels that solar energy may end up being the main source of producing electricity by the year 2050. It feels that 16% of electricity produced around the world by 2050 could be generated by solar panels and a further 11% of the world’s electricity could come from solar thermal electricity (STE). At the moment, solar power produces less than 1% of the world’s energy so this would be a significant increase.

As you will no doubt be aware, there are targets in place to achieve a certain level of electricity by 2020 by renewable energy sources. Comments like the above can only help drive the industry on towards helping to achieve those targets.

Of course, the industry is no doubt being helped by the reduction in the cost of solar panels that has been seen in the last few years.

China is very much at the forefront of the drive towards greater use of solar power followed by the USA with Germany being the front-runner in Europe. Here in the UK we continue to hear of new solar panel installations taking place both on residential and commercial properties and on land that has been used for agricultural purposes. We welcome receiving news from a variety of sources about such installations taking place so do let us know by leaving your comments.

For all those in the solar panels industry we are sure that you will agree, if the above were to become reality, the future of the industry is a rosy one.

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Thornbury Fire Station’s Solar Panels Performing Well

It is great to hear good news about the success of solar panels as it is likely to encourage others to take the plunge and invest in this environmentally friendly source of energy. The more individuals and businesses in the UK and beyond that have them installed the more likely we are going to hit our carbon emission targets by 2020.

Thornbury Fire Station had 50 solar photvoltaic panels installed in April 2014

Thornbury Fire Station is using solar panels

We have heard that, back in April 2014, Avon Fire & Rescue Service (AF&RS) took the plunge and had 50 solar panels placed upon Thornbury Fire Station’s roof. Well, you will be pleased to hear, these solar panels are already producing sufficient power that would have been capable of providing electricity for a home for 12 months – 4,000 kW hours of electricity. Another pleasing factor is that this performance is in excess of what was being predicted.

The solar panels were fitted at a time when the fire station was undertaking roofing improvements so it no doubt made sense to have them installed around the same time. As a result of the above fire service’s Carbon Management Plan there has been a reduction in the amount of energy consumed by almost a third in a period of 5 years that is a commendable achievement.

We have also heard that Yorkshire Ambulance Service is to have solar panels installed on 175 of their ambulances. The benefit to the ambulance service is that they will be able to keep the batteries in the ambulances charged up without the need to keep the engine ticking over. This will no doubt be of benefit to the environment as it will reduce carbon emissions emanating from the exhausts of the ambulances.

The above news items are certainly positive moves on the part of those involved in making such decisions.

As always, we would welcome the thoughts of our readers so feel free to leave your comments below.

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