Solar farm excels despite dismal summer

09 November 2012

Man surrounded by solar panels

Britain’s first large-scale solar farm has hit electricity generation targets for its first 12 months of operation – despite the dismal summer of 2012.  

Ecotricity’s Fen Farm Sun Park in Lincolnshire generated over 884,000 units of electricity in its first year from the 1MW installation that has 5,157 solar panels spread over 1.95 hectares. It has since passed the one million unit mark.

The sun park generates enough electricity to power around 260 homes, saving 377 tonnes of CO₂; and complimented by a 16 MW windfarm, created Britain’s first hybrid energy park.

Dale Vince, founder of green energy company Ecotricity, said: “The solar and wind installations in a hybrid energy park compliment and balance the season’s natural variations. In winter when there’s less sun there is typically more wind, and vice versa in the summer months.”

Sun Parks containing fields of photovoltaic (PV) panels produce electricity from sunlight and connect directly into the UK grid. PV panels work in daylight even under dull and cloudy British skies; have almost no impact on the ground below which has been converted into a wildflower meadow; and are almost 100% recyclable at their end of their useful life.

Vince continued: “Ecotricity had plans for several more large-scale sun parks across the UK, which could also have been generating for the last 12 months. Those plans were mothballed as a result of the Government’s decision to pull-the-plug on the solar industry.

“Last year every British household had £17 added to their annual energy bill to help build renewable energy infrastructure (including wind, solar, biomethane & hydro) which is now delivering 10% of Britain’s total electricity needs. By comparison every household also had £120 added to their energy bill simply due to rising cost of gas on the global energy markets. Unlike the renewable support, that extra £120 didn’t build any extra electricity generation, it just covered the cost of buying ever more expensive fossil fuels.”

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