It is a misconception that there is not enough sun in the UK for a solar farm. The best locations are in the South West of England, but with continual improvement in solar panel technology, all of the South of England and Wales, and parts of the Midlands may be suitable.
Simply put, photovoltaic panels convert sunlight into electricity. The sun’s rays or light particles known as photons produce an electrical current as they strike the surface of the thin silicon wafers. Each solar panel has around 60 individual cells wired in series producing around 12 volts. The photovoltaic panels are a collection of wafer thin silicon cells laminated together and placed onto a substrate, covered with protective glass and inserted into an aluminium frame to form a single photovoltaic module.
A solar park will not permanently change the planning designation of the land. The land will not automatically become a brownfield site if planning permission is granted and there will be robust measures in place to ensure a future solar park is properly managed.
This may have been true in the past, however the latest photovoltaic technology means very little energy is lost through reflection. Any glare is minimised through using translucent coating materials to improve light transmittance through glass. In fact, grass produces more glare than a PV array.
The photovoltaic solar panels will generate electricity without any noise or pollution by converting irradiation from the sun into renewable energy. Noise impact will be associated to the construction phase of development, whereby there would be minor impacts generated by vehicle movements across the site coupled with the installation of the framework.
The panels and associated infrastructure are inherently designed to operate in the open air and as such will not give rise to any unacceptable adverse impacts. The panels themselves will require cleaning two to three times a year to maintain efficiency. The inverters may need replacing once during the life of the project and this is factored into the maintenance planning.