Floating solar arrays point to bright future for clean energy
The potential of solar power is significant, with the International Energy Agency previously stating that the sun could be the planet’s biggest source of electricity by 2050.
In the U.K., the appetite for solar among some is becoming increasingly stronger. “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, told CNBC.
“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 U.K. is home to what is claimed to be the largest floating solar panel array in Europe. The array, based in the south of England, was installed by Lightsource Renewable Energy. The array is set to generate 5.8 million kilowatt hours in its first year of operation.
Commenting on the benefits of solar in general Nick Boyle, founder and CEO of Lightsource Renewable Energy, said 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.”
Boyle went on to explain that the predictable nature of solar meant that it also generated a predictable revenue stream, making it an attractive investment product.
For Lightsource, there are several plus points to floating solar arrays. “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.