Solar panels belong on rooftops before prime agricultural farmland.
We’re yet to meet anyone who doesn’t agree with this. Other than large scale solar developers.
Yet the reality is that communities across the UK are facing the desecration of their local countryside by large scale solar developers, who prefer the profit margins of installing solar panels on large swathes of good quality farmland.
Many of these communities already host large energy infrastructure near them, and are facing losing even more. They just want to protect what is left. Some communities face losing what may as well be all of it. The burden of a net zero energy future belongs equally on all of us, not unequally on a few as is currently happening.
The UK currently produces about 64% of the volume of food it consumes. This means we import 36%. Climate change is expected to reduce the amount of food that can be produced on the same area of land, so our reliance on other countries will grow. The EU are currently squabbling and blocking trade of vaccinations. How will they behave when food shortages start happening?
Solar panels are around 12% efficient in the UK. This means they only generate electricity around 12% of the year. Think of it this way. If 100 houses were built, and 88 of them remained empty forever there would be outrage at how inappropriate it is.
When energy production is concentrated in large scale facilities it contributes to energy waste. Processing the larger voltages of energy in order to transmit it around the country wastes around 1.5%. Plus more is lost the further it needs to travel along the cables. It is like a bucket of water with a hole in bottom. But if the same solar panels were distributed over rooftops and the buildings used the energy generated the loss is reduced to almost nothing, plugging the hole in the bucket.
Solar panels on rooftops is viable. It can be done because it is still being done. Just at smaller profit margins. In 2016 the BRE estimated that there were half a million acres of rooftops suitable for solar panels. Infuriatingly, buildings continue to be built at a rapid pace without solar panels. Land isn’t being made anymore and we are an island country. We need to use our land space wisely.
CARE Suffolk has joined up with several other communities in the UK facing the prospect of losing prime farmland and countryside to solar panels. We are asking the UK government to protect our farmland while also pushing for solar panels to be put on rooftops first. If you feel this is a reasonable request, please sign the petition now.