Since the start of the year, there have been huge changes within the UK solar industry with cuts made to the Feed In Tariff. However, in the last few weeks there have also been some real success stories in the industry too, proving that solar power has an important role to play in how we use energy today and in the future with a desire for companies, councils and governments to become more energy independent to reduce carbon footprints.
Here we take a look at 3 large solar projects which have caught our eye since the start of the year from Japan and Pakistan to Walton-On-Thames!
Pakistan’s parliament has become the first in the world to be run entirely using solar power. The solar energy plant which is in the country’s capital has been funded by the Chinese government as a token of friendship and has cost in the region of £36.5 million – quite a costly relationship.
It produces 80 megawatts of electricity of which 78% is consumed by parliament with the remainder going to the national grid. This move to solar power is set to save almost £700,000 a year in energy bills and is the first public building in Pakistan to harness the sun’s energy.
More than 23,000 solar panels are being installed on the Queen Elizabeth II reservoir in Walton-On-Thames, Surrey which is set to become Europe’s biggest floating solar energy project. Despite the size of the project, the solar panels will be hidden bearing no visual impact on the area and is part of Thames Water’s plan to self-generate a third of its own energy by 2020.
Installation of the solar panels will provide 6.3 megawatts of electricity and is expected to generate 5.8m kilowatt hours in its first year.
There’s a reason why we had to call the Queen Elizabeth II reservoir project the largest floating solar installation in Europe and that’s because Japan have begun work on a floating solar farm that when completed will be able to generate enough energy to power 5,000 homes every year.
Floating on the Yamakura Dam reservoir near Tokyo, it will use more than double the number of solar panels being used at the reservoir in Walton-On-Thames – 51,000 solar cells to be precise – and is set to offset the equivalent of CO2 being released by the consumption of 19,000 barrels of oil.
Japan had invested heavily in nuclear power, however since the disaster in Fukushima in 2011 the country has become more reliant on foreign power after all nuclear power plants had been taken offline. Around 94% of Japan’s energy was imported in 2013 and so this floating solar farm is a massive step for the country.