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Solar power progressing despite subsidy cuts 27th September


The first solar power plant constructed without the aid of governmental solar power subsidies has opened in Flitwick, Bedfordshire, in what has been labelled a “significant moment” for renewable energy, by Climate Change Minister Claire Perry.

The Clayhill solar development will provide enough energy to power approximately 2,500 homes, and includes battery storage technology to enable the electricity to be used any time of the day; overcoming one of the biggest drawbacks of solar power. As the cost of renewables continues to fall with ever improving technology, it’s now cheaper to produce than nuclear power.

This price difference between renewables and fossil fuels can be demonstrated by the price per megawatt-hour agreed by the government. The under construction Hinckley Point C nuclear power station has an agreed price of £92.50 per megawatt-hour, compared to £57.50 from a recently agreed offshore wind farm.

Furthermore, nuclear power, along with other fossil fuels, still receives higher subsidies then the renewable counterparts. A governmental export scheme has paid out £4.8bn to fossil fuels since 2010, compared to £39m for renewables since 2012.

This has prompted warnings from the renewables industry to the government that the funding disparity is jeopardizing the industry by failing to provide a level playing field with fossil fuels.

Nevertheless, the opening of the Clayhill solar farm without subsidies from the government restores confidence in the solar industry since subsidy cuts in 2015, and proves that solar can still play an important role in sustainable energy generation in the future.

Although there are still advocates of solar power who call for a level playing field in terms of funding, solar power still produces enough energy to power 2.7 million homes, and has proved that it is still a main contender in the energy sector of the UK.

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Image: Anesco

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