If you have ever been to the United Kingdom, then you have probably noticed that the price of gasoline, or petrol as they call it, is much higher than it is here in the United States. However, gasoline is not the only energy source that is expensive in the UK. Electricity is costly as well. Just as the US is concerned about rising energy prices, the UK is also concerned. The UK’s dependence on energy imports, as well as their impact on the environment, has led the country to seek out alternative sources of energy and solar farms are becoming as popular as the local pub.
The British government has set an aggressive goal to increase renewable energy production to the point that it supplies 20% of the electricity consumed in the UK by the year 2020. Setting this goal has led to an increase in the deployment of wind and solar farm projects across the island nation. When you think of weather in the UK, sunshine is not the first thing that comes to mind. However, solar farms are becoming more popular than wind turbines due to their higher efficiency and lower cost.
There are over 1,900 solar farms already in the UK. The government is now focusing the growth of solar on brownfield sites, as well as domestic and industrial roofs. Solar is very popular with the British public and the government hopes to increase this popularity by offering Feed-in-Tariff rewards for those that install solar panels on their roofs. What this means to the homeowner or business owner is that they get paid for both the energy they use (the generation tariff) and the energy they don’t use and provide to the grid (the export tariff). Energy bills also drop significantly. When the panels are producing energy the electricity is free to the owner. The Feed-in-Tariff for solar systems is guaranteed for 20 years. If the homeowner decides that it is too expensive to purchase the panels, many solar businesses are offering solar panels installed for free. This no-cost option has the homeowner essentially renting their roof space to the solar company. The company will keep the Feed-in-Tariff and the homeowner gets to use free clean energy.