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Sunday, January 29, 2012

Green and pleasant land?

Whilst many southerners ( me included, I must confess) fulminate about so-called "wind farms" in remote upland areas, few seem to comment on the defacement of many of our beautiful village roofscapes by the unfettered proliferation of solar panels. I have observed this with a growing feeling of despair.

Whilst out with Miss W this afternoon I was stunned to see one of the views that I enjoy obliterated. What I expected was a view across a meadow (usually with a few cows or sheep) to an exceptionally fine group of victorian farm buildings.

What I saw was this.

view of solar panels in field obscuring farm
Victorian farm goes green

The irony is that our local power station (Sizewell B) is capable of supplying the daily domestic needs of every home in Suffolk - and Norfolk too. In fact it produces as much power as every windturbine in the UK put together, around 3% of the total daily requirement of the UK

With the removal of subsidies for these solar horrors (in part at least) hopefully we can expect to see a similar approach to the wind industry from Cameron, Osborne & co. The squeals and squawks of anguish and indignation from the double glazing solar energy salesmen was music to my ears. De-subsidise the lot, I say. Then our money can be spent on reliable, secure energy generation.

We don't need this - just Sizewell C, please. And a few more.



Blogger Andrew W said...

Our economy is already 1 trillion in debt.
I do not even understand the magnitude if that in New money let alone old.
So how they can give subsidies I also don't understand.
In fact I do not see how we can contribute to anything, inc bailing out other countries we are in debt.
I guess I do not understand economics.
Unfortunately I get the impression that no one does, especially those who say they do.
I suspect we are deep in it!

January 29, 2012 at 9:42 PM  
Blogger Phil said...

It's not that I'm against small scale supplementary power generation - in fact if there were solar panels on every factory roof and industrial estate, that would be fine by me - provided they were properly paid for and self financing. Industrial areas are not, generally, places of beauty or recreation and additional commercial structures would be entirely appropriate. It's the ugly rash thinly spread over everything that the skewed subsidy system produces that I think so damaging - and to no great economic or strategic benefit.

I'll get back in my box now! :-)

January 30, 2012 at 9:54 AM  
Blogger Andrew W said...

We've had an outbreak here in Bottisham. First it was one, then the house next door and then a couple down.
Like measles!

January 30, 2012 at 7:33 PM  
Blogger Alan Sloman said...

And he gets a whole load of money from the F.I.T. that we all pay for.

Someone should cover those in a bit of pig slurry.

January 30, 2012 at 11:06 PM  
Blogger Phil said...

You can't blame someone for responding to a scheme that offers such a high return on capital investment. Anyone with a few grand rotting in a building society would do the same - hence our local villages beginning to resemble blocks of glasshouses as individual homeowners say "thank you very much".

Lord Marland hit the nail on the head when he spoke in defence of the present government's action to reduce the subsidy:

“Let’s look at what we are taking to court here. This is one of the most ridiculous schemes that has ever been dreamed up.

“It is already going to cost the consumer £7billion for £400million of net present value. This is on a product where you need the electricity when the sun doesn't shine.

“It is going to produce 1.1 per cent of our electricity supply and it doesn't target the needy and the consumers.”

Couldn't agree more.

January 31, 2012 at 9:31 AM  
Blogger Alan R said...

I must admit that i don't mind seeing these. In the right place and size obviously. If there was a roof underneath the panels in the pic, then what's the difference really.
I am also led to believe that excess power generated by these and put into the grid can pay for the original investment and more. I also hear that this is about to change detrimentally.
If i am correct, then this policy will eventually mean less of them will be installed.
I think there are far worse monstrosities built than these.

February 16, 2012 at 2:17 PM  
Blogger Phil said...

The "excess" power doesn't pay for the investment - the levy on everyone else's bill does! And hereabouts planners have carefully specified harmonious pantile and pegtile roofs on new builds to blend with the vernacular architecture, only to have a fine roofscape obliterated by shiny black panels.

It's like a pretty girl being blighted by pernicious acne - to some tastes maybe, but not mine.

Oddly, not a single industrial estate sports these panels, possibly a weight issue on large span roofs. This will be why the farmer has covered a field in panels on powder coated steel frames instead of his cattle sheds.

Mark my words. When the first lightweight roof trusses start to buckle under loads that they were not designed to carry - and insurers refuse to pay up - there will be a mighty wailing and gnashing of teeth.

As for this view, don't you think an elegant white pylon with slowly revolving turbine blades would look better? ;-)

Horses for courses as they say in Newmarket, but I still back the horse at Leiston.

February 16, 2012 at 8:04 PM  
Blogger Alan R said...

Hi Phil,
I wasn’t sure about the economics i must admit. I just had some thoughts hidden somewhere in the grey matter.
These in your pic don’t do much for the scene if they are on frames in a field. Some low level hedging to take the eye away would be better.
They would be much worse if this lot were vertical.

February 18, 2012 at 4:41 PM  
Blogger Phil said...

Very true, Alan, that lot on pylons would send me over the edge!

The best story of the madness of subsidies comes from Spain. A large solar panel array was generating megawatts of green energy. Unfortunately a bean counter noticed that much of the additional solar output was being generated at night! They were buying conventional energy and flogging it on as their own.

Funnily enough, Spain now has a solar generator that really does generate power at night - works a bit like the old solar furnace in the french Pyrenees.

Now that is clever - I'm really interested to see how it works out in the long term.

Probably not right for our sorry climate though :-(

February 18, 2012 at 5:23 PM  
Blogger Alan R said...

I flew over a absolutely massive array of solar panels in Spain last year. It was more than likely what you are talking of.

February 18, 2012 at 8:01 PM  
Blogger Alan Sloman said...

It's suggested that the plant will produce a maximum of 14MW and at a cost of $410M.
That's about £20 Million (sterling for every MW of generation.

Yet more economic insanity from the Spanish. No wonder they're broke.

We're not far behind them in the renewable energy madness, either...

February 19, 2012 at 4:16 PM  
Blogger Ruby said...

I have always dreamed about sustainable energy. But the costing should come from our family's excess funding - not money that should be spent on necessities. That should also be the case for the government. - Solar Electricity in Shrewsbury

April 21, 2012 at 10:52 PM  

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