COMMENT: Turning our sunshine into power makes perfect sense

Down here on the south coast we're lucky enough to get some of the highest levels of sunshine in the whole country.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 9th June 2022, 12:00 am

So it seems to make perfect sense to capitalise on that and turn the rays into energy.

Portsmouth City Council certainly thinks so, which is why it has announced it's going to install thousands of solar panels at Lakeside North Harbour to power the business park.

The authority is fully funding the solar PV and battery project, which aims to have net-zero carbon emissions by 2030.

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It's a big and bold initiative, the first of its kind on this scale in the UK. Roughly 10,000 panels will be installed on the roof of the office complex and on its car park canopies. Installation will start in the autumn and take about nine months to complete.

The decision to generate power from panels indicates an important change in thinking. Increasingly solar power is now seen as a green and, just as importantly, a cost-effective alternative to our historic reliance on the National Grid for our electricity needs.

The Lakeside scheme is projected to save approximately 992 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year, while generating the energy equivalent of powering approximately 4,500 homes.

But the price is also attractive. Andrew Waggott, head of utility and energy at the council, says: 'Solar is one of the cheapest forms of energy. It is not an either or any more between supporting green energy and keeping costs down. It is cheap compared to years ago.’

So there are environmental and financial benefits. But an extra advantage is that taking less power from the National Grid means the city will not be as exposed to sharp fluctuations in the energy market.

Where Portsmouth leads, it looks increasingly likely that others will follow.