16 August 2022

Did you know London came close to a blackout during the July heatwave? Renewable energy and the record-breaking cost of energy imports from Belgium were the only things keeping the lights on.

Solar power output met up to a quarter of the UK’s energy needs during the record 40+ degrees temperatures of the July heatwave. With energy demands rising and global temperatures hitting new heights, further development and installations are vital to maximising the potential of solar energy.

Without solar farms, July’s record-breaking 40 degrees temperatures could have seen homes across the UK disconnected from the grid. It’s a timely reminder of the importance of green energy in future-proofing the UK energy market as we continue to feel the effects of climate change.

At Green Switch Capital, our land-leasing programme allows you to earn passive income through a 40-year lease. You’ll receive a guaranteed income and help us create a sustainable and self-reliant energy market through solar farm development.

We’re exploring the potential of the UK’s solar power farms to enable us to achieve net zero by 2050 and tackle rising energy costs.

What is Solar Power?

Solar power is one of the cleanest and most sustainable forms of energy. It works by harnessing the energy of the sun’s rays as thermal energy. Solar panels operate with photovoltaic cells and transparent glass that convert thermal energy into electricity. We’re able to use both the heat and electricity produced by solar power.

While it’s not uncommon to find solar panels on top of houses, solar farms offer optimal productivity. The purpose of solar farms is to create large-scale green energy that can be fed directly to the National Grid. Battery storage solutions can also allow excess solar energy to be stored until the grid needs extra support.

Solar power has a small carbon footprint with most panels able to operate for at least 25 years without any efficiency loss. The materials can even be recycled after the solar panels need replacing.

The potential of solar power is virtually endless. The satellites that orbit the Earth are even powered by solar energy. Solar PV panels operate by generating electricity, while heat is generated with solar thermal panels.

The UK’s Solar Power Farms

There’s a common misconception that ‘British weather’ means solar panels can’t work efficiently. This idea is incorrect. The solar panels that you’ll see throughout the UK use the same technology utilised by solar farms in the Middle East.

While the UK’s optimal temperature for solar capacity is 25 degrees, its performance is only narrowly impacted by higher temperatures. Temperatures would have to reach 65 degrees for current solar panels to lose 20% of their efficiency.

While solar farms can be impacted by the heat, the same is true of fossil fuel production and nuclear power stations.

The UK experiences its peak solar power output in the spring, particularly in April and May. It’s why battery storage solutions are vital to maximise the potential and usage of these peak periods.

The current record solar generation in the UK was 10.4 GW with a new record likely as solar installations continue to rollout throughout the UK. This new record is up from the previous 9.68GW rating in April 2020.

Solar Power Meets a Quarter of UK’s Power Demands

July’s heatwave showed the potential – and necessity – of renewable energy. The hottest day of the year saw solar farms produce 66.9GW of power. This figure translates to roughly 9% of the UK’s power needs.

Solar Energy UK, the renewable energy trade association, estimates that solar energy generation peaked at 7.77GW at midday at the height of the heatwave. This 7.77GW generation is almost 6 times the capacity of Heysham 2, the UK’s largest nuclear power station. While solar power production is slightly better during the spring, it shows the sustainability of solar farms in extreme heat.

The record temperatures also saw consumers exploring the potential of solar power. Google Trends show that searches for “solar panels” jumped over 100% in the UK. It’s no surprise that consumers are becoming more invested in renewable energy solutions as the energy cap continues to increase.

While the rising temperatures are a consequence of climate change, they’re encouraging consumers to explore the potential of solar power.

Solar Power as an Affordable Energy Solution

The focus on renewable energy isn’t just to prevent climate change. Solar power – along with wind – is the most affordable way of generating electricity.

70% of Britons view renewable energy as a vital solution to the cost-of-living crisis that’s been fuelled by rising household energy bills. Solar power can be generated 365 days a year, requiring only some daylight to capture the sun’s energy.

While the amount of energy generated will vary by location and season, solar power can provide an affordable year-round energy solution.

The next decade will make or break the renewable energy industry. Fundraising and planning are vital to fulfilling the industry’s potential and achieving net zero by 2050. It’s clear that the UK has not yet reached its peak with solar power.

China was the world’s largest producer of solar power electricity in 2020, followed by the US, Japan, India, and Germany. The National Grid believes the UK’s electricity system can operate on exclusively zero-carbon electricity by 2050.

It’s yet to be seen whether solar and wind power capacity will develop quick enough in time to achieve this goal.

Creating a Self-Reliant UK Energy Market

Our goal at Green Switch Capital is to create a sustainable and self-reliant energy market to achieve net-zero by 2050. Solar farms are a vital competent of this. Our land-leasing programme strives to transform unused agricultural land into solar farms to transition the grid to green energy.

Moving to renewable energy and removing our reliance on foreign energy imports will lower energy bills and reduce carbon emissions. You can find out more about our land-leasing programme by contacting our team at info@gscapital.uk or by using our contact form.