The UK has officially opened their largest solar energy farm at the Howberry business park in Oxfordshire. Being the first large ground system connected to the national grid, this solar park is capable of generating about 683 MWh of solar energy annually.
The 3,000 solar panels will generate a quarter of Howbery business park’s needs and will also save around 350 tons of carbon dioxide a year.
The UK doesn’t have a great solar energy sector due to the cloudy weather. Derry Newman, CEO of Solarcentury, the company that supplied the solar photovoltaic modules, claims that the solar photovoltaic cells do not necessarily need direct sunlight to work. He agrees that a brighter sunny day would undoubtedly generate more energy, but they can do a good job nevertheless on cloudier days.
“Solar works on daylight, not necessarily [direct] sunlight and it gets light every day in Britain. Of course it generates more on a very bright day than a dull day. If you average over the year, the amount of cumulative daylight, energy per square metre, is very well known and is very predictable. Over the life of the system, the amount of energy produced is very predictable,” he said.
It is UK’s largest solar park but it is also small compared to those in Spain or Italy, up to 10 times bigger. On the other hand, the government plans to cut the rates payable for large ground-mounted solar installations by more than 70% and announced a review of feed-in tariffs for anyone generating more than 50kW of power.