Why solar farms are the key to tackling climate change

solar farm

Electricity has become a staple commodity for the modern society. Almost all aspects of our day to day lives requires the use of electricity. But in recent years we have become conscious about the effects of traditional fossil-fuelled generators on the environment, and we want renewable green energies to feed our growing electricity demand.

With an unswerving source of energy, solar is undeniably a key power source, but what’s the best way to harvest it? Here we look at the benefits of solar farms, to improve our green energy consumption.

So, what is a solar farm?

According to AZoCleantech, a solar farm is a large area installed with multiple ground-mount solar tracking towers. They provide solar power to utilities rather than local grids. Approximately 25 acres of land is required for every 5MW installations which can produce enough power for 1515 houses.

Ok, so what’s good about them?

sizeMinimal Disturbance 

Once the solar farm is built little disturbance is caused to the land, by either machine or human. The land beneath the photovoltaic panels can be used for minimal agricultural use and causes minimal disruption to the local wildlife. The land in which solar farms are usually built are considered ‘brownfield’ sites, areas of land with little financial or community value. Apart from motorised panels, most components in a solar farm have no moving parts and its inverters are stored in noise cancelling boxes, all of which require little maintenance and produce little noise pollution. This has allowed for solar farms to be built close to load centres which in turn reduces transmission difficulty and improves the efficiency of solar panels by reducing line losses. With solar farms there’s no need to modify homes to receive the electricity, removing any disturbance to housing as well as removing any issues regarding homes which may be unsuitable for panel installation. Once the solar farm is decommissioned, the land can be returned to its original use.

sizeSocial and Economic Benefits 

As well as inflicting minimal disturbance to the landscape, solar farms can also stimulate the local economy through job creation and training opportunities. They also support local suppliers and dealers as well as increasing diversification of the electricity mix, improving energy security and reducing dependency on energy import. Solar farms are also a great return on investment, especially when you consider electricity bill savings, maintenance costs and reassurance of guaranteed income.

sizeReliability 

The sun is a reliable energy source, with a 9-10Billion Earth-year lifespan, the sun will continuously shine, providing us with all the solar energy we need. According to an article by Business Insider, during a one-hour period, 430Quintillion (430x10¹⁸) joules of energy from the sun hits the earth. Human consumption of electricity per year is only 410Quintillion (410x10¹⁸) joules per year.

Surely, it’s not all good news?

One factor which always plays devil's advocate is finance. Constructing a solar farm and storing energy for overnight usage doesn't come cheap and can be too overbearing for some communities. However, with the increasing consciousness of the environment and the need to push towards greener energies, governments and organisations are providing incentive opportunities for those looking to develop a renewable energy project in their country. The World Bank has provided more the $5Billion to 35 countries to aid their development of renewable energy projects.

This article only scratches the surface of solar farms, Solar Farms: The Earthscan Expert Guide to Design and Construction of Utility-scale Photovoltaic Systems, 1st Edition by Susan Neill, Geoff Stapleton and Christopher Martell builds on the challenges and lessons learned from existing solar farms and is an essential practical guide for all industry professionals involved in or contemplating utility-scale, grid-connected solar systems.

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Did you know?

It takes less than one hour for the Sun to provide the Earth with enough power to fuel the global populations electricity demand for one year!

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