Bright Future for Clean Energy Pointed to by Floating Solar Array

With the International Energy Agency previously stating that the sun could be the planet’s biggest source of electricity by 2050, the potential of solar power is significant.

The appetite for solar among some is becoming increasingly stronger in the U.K.

“We’re in the middle of what you can only describe as an energy revolution in the U.K.,” Alan Whitehead, member of parliament for the opposition Labour Party, said yo the media.

“Solar power is now becoming increasingly central to U.K. power production,” Whitehead added. “The deployment of solar is racing way ahead of what was thought was going to be the curve, and it’s now making a real impact on energy systems.”

The largest floating solar panel array in Europe is claimed to be in the U.K. Installed by Lightsource Renewable Energy, the array is based in the south of England. In its first year of operation, the array is set to generate 5.8 million kilowatt hours.

The business was, “now in a position for the first time – and it’s a really interesting inflection point – where I can go to large electricity users and offer to undercut what they’re paying today,” said Nick Boyle, founder and CEO of Lightsource Renewable Energy while commenting on the benefits of solar in general.

The solar is also an attractive investment product given the predictable nature of solar which allows it to generate a predictable revenue stream, Boyle went on to explain.

There are several plus points to floating solar arrays for Lightsource. “One of the major benefits to floating solar is that there is all this space in areas of London or other cities, where you have a large area on top of the reservoir that’s not being used,” Liv Harder, senior development manager at the company, said.

“It has definitely become more affordable to do projects like these over the last few years,” Harder added. “The cost of panels has gone down nine times in the last five (years) alone, and the floats themselves also continue to go down in price as more and more installations go up.”

The solar industry seems to be in good health in the U.S. According to data from GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association, at the beginning of this year it was revealed that the U.S. solar industry installed 7,286 megawatts of solar power in 2015.

Compared to 2014, an increase of over 1,000 megawatts of solar photovoltaic installations was represented by the figures. Photovoltaic technology is able to directly convert sunlight into electrical energy.

With 29.5 percent of all new electric generating capacity met by solar power in 2015, solar beat natural gas capacity additions for the first time ever, according to the data.

Alan Whitehead, in the U.K.,  was also confident about solar’s prospects. “The future of solar power is incredibly bright,” he said. “Solar has a wonderful future I think, it’s one of those technologies that is absolutely game changing.”

(Adapted from CNBC)


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