Energy minister vows to curb the spread of solar farms

Solar farms must not become “the new onshore wind”, Greg Barker, the energy minister has said

Subsidies for solar panels will be scrapped to help reduce household electricity bills, energy minister in charge of climate change has declared

DECC admits that the spread of solar farms has been “much stronger than anticipated in government modelling” and some have been sited “insensitively”. Ministers have vowed to curb the growth of massive solar farms that blight the countryside, pledging they will not allow it to become “the new onshore  wind”.  In a solar strategy released on Friday, the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) said: “We want to move the emphasis for growth away from large   solar farms.” It unveils plans to instead put more solar panels on rooftops of commercial   buildings and to install up to 4 million panels on buildings in the   Government estate, including up to 24,000 schools.  DECC admits that the spread of solar farms has been “much stronger than   anticipated in government modelling” and that this “can have impacts on visual amenity”.  It admits that public support for solar is starting to be eroded because some   solar farms have been sited “insensitively” and that solar farms can “have a   negative impact on the rural environment if not well-planned and   well-screened”.

It shows a five-fold expansion in the number of projects over last two years and a more than eight-fold expansion in the installed capacity as bigger farms are built.  At the end of March 2012 there were 46 large-scale solar projects, most of  which are solar farms. By the end of February this year that had soared to   184 projects, with a further 48 due to start operating last month alone.  An additional 194 projects have planning permission and are awaiting construction, which can take as little as eight weeks.

Greg Barker, the energy minister, told the Telegraph:

“I’m very clear that I do not want large scale solar to become the new onshore wind.

“Solar currently enjoys very high support amongst the British public and I   intend to keep it that way by making sure the focus of growth is on   brownfield sites and domestic and industrial roofs, not on greenfield sites in the country.”

Read the full story by Emily Gosden, Energy Editor Telegraph UK (04 Apr 2014) about Solar Farms  and energy issues in the UK.

The Association for Sustainability in Business is interested in your views about Solar Farms, please contact us on [email protected] or visit our website

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