Scotland’s largest solar farm has been given the green light, a significant move for renewable energy. Moray Council gave Elgin Energy the go-ahead to develop the 20MW project near Urquhart. What could this immense project mean for the rest of the UK?
The new solar farm could see about 80,000 solar panels installed, but how will this affect those of us living in Preston or other parts of the UK? It is true that a solar farm generates electricity locally and feeds into the local electricity grid, but that doesn’t mean that we won’t benefit from this mega solar farm. To put this into perspective, for every 5MW installed, a solar farm will power approximately 1,515 homes a year and save 2,150 tonnes of CO2. One can only imagine the effects a 20MW system could have. Ultimately, the environmental benefits of solar panel farms will create a more sustainable living for the rest of the UK.
Economically, cheap electricity from a solar farm puts money back into the consumer’s pocket through reduced energy bills, meaning that more money will circulate around the UK. Ask any economist about supply and demand and you will soon realise that the more money people spend on products, the more money flows around the country, booming businesses and benefiting everybody. This is especially true with tourism money – less money spent on energy means more trips to places around the UK. Solar is one of the best energy sources, which allows the UK to keep the profit in the country. Economic benefits are super important when considering energy, no matter how environmentally friendly a system may be, money is still an issue. Solar is definitely an economic benefit both personally and nationally, as well as introducing new skills and jobs for the younger generations who may be interested in forming new technologies.
I feel I must mention the largest floating solar farm in the world, to really explain the scope of the impacts of solar. I know we’re travelling even further away from Preston but I promise it is relevant. The Chinese city of Huainan is very rich in coal, so rich that it had nearly a fifth of China’s coal reserves in 2008. Symbolically, the world’s largest solar farm has now been built on top of a former coal mine. Not only does this send a message to the rest of the world about how seriously committed China is to investing in and creating renewable energy projects, but it also generates and powers a great number of properties in China with clean energy. Although China does have a serious pollution problem, this solar farm is contributing to making this better, which is exactly what big solar farms will do for the UK.
Scotland is a pioneering country in terms of renewable energy, and its contribution to renewable energy and the environment has been world recognised. This large solar farm will symbolise to the rest of the world how the UK is moving in the right direction in terms of renewable energy and making the world better for future generations. The solar farm will help the UK meet its climate change targets and set the tone for bigger and better projects like this all over the UK.