Name two countries well suited for solar power. I’m guessing the UK and Sweden were not among them. Yet, in today’s Telegraph we have an editorial written by energy ministers from both countries highlighting the importance of solar for renewables in the EU, and the UK and Sweden. The European Commission’s decision to put tariffs on Chinese solar panel imports evidently will derail the renewables revolution in the United Kingdom and Sweden. In their own words:
The International Energy Agency estimates that renewable electricity could be the world’s second largest source of electricity production as early as 2015.
Solar is an integral part of that picture. In Europe, installed capacity of solar panels has doubled in just two years; in the UK alone, solar power generation has risen to around 2.5GW.
I would have to ask why the UK government has subsidised the construction of 2.5 GW of a prime mover totally unsuited to the United Kingdom, but then I’m reminded that Germany has more than ten times more solar power installed. By the standards of the day the United Kingdom is sane.
Yes, the United Kingdom and Sweden, countries with more or less the worst solar resources on the planet. And solar power is somehow integral for these countries? Do these energy ministers envisage solar panels being capable of providing juice on a dreary winter evening?
On the other hand the UK is pretty much tops in terms of wind resource. Unfortunately it is much less politically correct than solar. After all, who opposes solar panels in the UK? (except for me, and perhaps George Monbiot). Or perhaps I am wrong, and solar could even be the UK’s best option?