When one thinks of jolly old England, one may think that the hottest topic in the UK is the recent marriage of Prince William and Catherine Middleton. While this is quite a hot topic of mention, not everyone may be aware that about 1 hour NW of London, the Westmill Solar Farm, Britain’s largest solar plant went live and started generating electricity on July 19th at 4:00 p.m.
This 30 acre, 5 MW solar plant contains 20,620 photovoltaic modules from Germany. An average of 20 men working around the clock built the site in order to meet the August 1 deadline to be eligible for the Feed-In Tariffs; which is a Government-backed measure that makes it worth your while to produce renewable electricity.
Another unique feature is that it is adjacent to 5 wind turbines at Westmill Wind Farm and together, this creates the United Kingdom’s first combined wind and solar park, where two commercial scale renewable technologies operating side by side create a green energy zone capable of powering 4,000 homes in Oxfordshire over the next 25 years. This effort will offset 3,000 tons of carbon dioxide.
At present, the UK has a 3% rate of renewable energy usage, but has a renewable energy target of 15% by 2020. The Scottish government has become even more aggressive by instituting a target rate of 30% renewable energy usage by 2020. The UK in general is looking towards offshore wind farms as their future of renewable energy. They were able to make a huge step towards their renewable energy usage goals with the inauguration of the solar portion of their wind and solar energy park. These efforts are not only something that William and Kate would be proud of, but above all, this effort helps nearby residents in Oxfordshire for years to come, and that is one hot topic.