Posts Tagged solar-power

Solar energy in the UK

There used to be a perception that solar power maybe wasn’t the brightest idea for the UK given that – compared to Spain, Australia and quite a few other places too – we don’t exactly get the lion’s share of balmy days when even the the pavement’s scorching and all the mercury can do is race its way to the top of the thermometer.

However, the relationship between hot weather and solar panels doesn’t actually matter – since it’s light that allows solar panels to produce electrical power, not heat. And on top of this, you don’t need a cloudless day for a photovoltaic system to work. This is because while direct sunlight is obviously an optimum condition for energy production, there’s still light on days when there’s cloud cover. This more diffused type light will still be of use – it’s just that not quite so much electricity will be produced.

And, of course, given that photovoltaics are gaining in popularity worldwide, the actual panels themselves are more efficient than back in the days when they were a bit more of an unusual thing to see in a domestic setting than they are now.

This week Wrexham Council in Wales completed installing a large number of solar panels on homes in the area – 3000 to be precise. The combined positive effect of these on the environment will over time be a significant contribution to green energy in the UK – and will also help save some money too.

If you’re interested in what solar panels can do for you, there’s some good information available online – click here for the lowdown on cost and a guide to potential savings and income from installing a PV system.

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Glasgow Solar Lily Pads plan provides hilarity

These are difficult times for those of us associated with the Green Energy cause. Huge rises in energy costs have stilted the general public’s appetite for anything at all associated with the subject – the news is so grim that most people just want to forget about it. Therefore, it was great recently to find a story which cheered us up no end. Scottish architecture firm ZM Architecture have unveiled a ‘biomimicry’ scheme to provide solar power to the city of Glasgow. Their proposal involves the design of Solar Lily Pads which float in Glasgow’s River Clyde – soaking up the rays and powering the city! Firstly, it has to be said that this award winning scheme is very imaginative, pioneering and visually attractive – there is definitely potential for solar power generation in all our cities, and obviously we wholeheartedly condone any non fossil-fuel energy generation schemes.

Solat Lily Pads - River Clyde, Glasgow

Solar Lily Pads - River Clyde, Glasgow

However, to us native Glaswegians this scheme is utterly hilarious on many levels.

  • To begin, anyone who has spent this ‘summer’ in Glasgow will tell you that this has been one of the wettest and darkest summers ever, in fact whatever the season, the weather in Glasgow is now almost a permanent Autumn. Now, our understanding of Solar Power is slightly limited, but we believe that a sufficient amount of sunlight is required in order to generate any meaningful levels of energy – would these panels provide an adequate return on investment for the dear green place?
  • Secondly, the record of Glasgow in the implemetation of large scale Architectural Schemes is not exactly gleaming. The Science Centre tower on the Clyde is constantly breaking down, the award winning ‘squinty’ bridge lasted for a few months before one the cables snapped and had to be repaired –  causing untold traffic chaos. This leads us to be sceptical that these solar pads could be introduced effectively.
  • Thirdly – what would any existing river traffic do? – There are still a number of boats that utilise the River Clyde, and some shipyards are still operational. What exactly is supposed to happen when a ship is launched, are they supposed to snake around the lily pads on the way out to sea? There was also talk of a River Taxi, taking passengers from the new riverside developments in the West End into the city centre-obviously with the pads in place, that would prove to be rather difficult.

One good thing however is that as they are situated in the middle of the River Clyde it would be very difficult for any of the local ne’er do wells to vandalise them (we have noted that the Sheriff Court in Glasgow is to be solar powered-oh, the irony!) – they would try, the ingenuity for ruining things is sometimes quite startling – although it would be a brave ned that ventured into those waters!

Please let us know if your home town or city has any similar proposals?

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