Solar Energy is the future. A new petition has been set up to stop the government holding back large-scale solar power generated compared to other technologies. Jonny Lawrence explains why solar energy resonates with him and why you should sign the petition.
I am an 80’s child. I grew up in the 90’s watching children’s TV that included Blue peter, Newsround, the really wild show and the low down. There were other brilliant documentaries aimed at young people too, all dealing with issues you’d come to face as you went through adolescence and into young adult hood.
Newsround was such a brilliant thing to have growing up. A news program for kids, it never felt like they were dumbing things down, it was always on a level you could understand but at the same time pretty informative.
Yes at the time it often felt like it was filling the gap between Blue peter and Neighbours but some of the stories really resonated with me.
Often the things that left the biggest mark were the environmental stories.
It always felt like we were being made aware of the threat to the rainforest, the plight of endangered animals, pollution and generally the health of our planet.
I’m 28 now and like many people born around the same time I’m conscious of the threats our planet faces right now. The internet has revolutionised the way we talk to each other about these issues, we share a common belief that things need to change. We are more informed and able to educate ourselves and each other (you’re reading this after all!)
People who deny the existence of global warming, believing we should invest in Fracking or drilling for oil in some of the most remote and beautiful parts of our planet have really just bought into media manipulation.
Critics and Nay sayer’s try to boil it down to left wing liberalism or brand anyone that cares about these issues “hippies”. This is a completely misguided point of view and another example of how the media uses these words to sway opinion in favour of the people who stand to benefit or the ruling classes.
Corporate monoliths, each with their own media empires (surprise surprise) all have vested interests in fossil fuels or the most profitable technology.
Slandering environmentalists, discrediting scientific evidence in the name of profit, it’s easy when you’ve got a few billion in the bank.
While it is important to balance our energy sources, renewable energy is essential. Over the last 30 years technology has come on leaps and bounds and will only improve as the years go by.
Solar energy, in particular, is becoming more affordable and with tax incentives, it can quite often pay for itself in five to ten years.
And in a world where profit is king, if solar is the future it needs to be made profitable and, at present, it is going in the right direction.
I have seen articles showing the potential of things like solar roads or that solar energy could be the top source of electricity in the world by 2050.
In June this year both Britain and Germany broke records for generating solar electricity over a single weekend. Germany actually generated over half its electricity demand from solar for the first time ever. With the UK seeing extended periods of sunny weather throughout June, it nearly doubled its 2013 peak of solar power output over the solstice weekend.
A recent report from CEBR (The centre for Economics and business research) has shown that if the government took action now British solar could create 60GW of generation capacity by 2030, enough to power the equivalent of 18 million homes.
This would in turn create thousands of new jobs, food for thought when considering the future of generations to come. With all the positive statistics out there it’s a no brainer, right?
Nuclear is being backed massively as are wind farms. Both of these technologies come with serious draw backs and polarize opinion. Nuclear energy rarely goes wrong but when it does it is catastrophic.
The Fukushima disaster has had a catastrophic impact on the environment and the people who lived in the fallout zone. Nuclear is proven but the disposal of nuclear waste is still problematic and as of yet there is no long term solution to the storage of waste. This documentary shows the lengths needed to dispose of the waste.
On shore wind turbines can be incredibly inefficient. I have read reports that it takes anything from 8 to 50 years to a lifetime for them to recoup the costs depending on their location. They are unsightly (my opinion) and come with their own environmental issues. They are also noisy. Off shore mitigates some of these factors but the installation on the seabed of giant pontoons has its own problems.
So why is the government squeezing out solar AGAIN?
The sun is not a tradable commodity, it shines freely 24/7, so perhaps on the face of it it’s not an attractive investment. I wouldn’t be surprised if some Mr Burns-esque character hadn’t tried to lay claim to it.
However with falling costs in both the manufacture and installation of PV, the value of that investment increases. The reliance on subsidies will gradually decline as we get to grid parity and at that point with the right investment and planning we will have a thriving and profitable industry, contributing to the UK economy.
There are thousands of commercial properties with roof space, perfect for solar PV installations with virtually zero transmission loss as most of the energy will be used on site. The government should sort out how to incentivise the installation of PV on these properties. More investment in energy storage is also needed, something like this.
As the infographic states “Of all the different types of renewable power, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says solar’s potential to meet our energy needs is the largest by a large magnitude”