A solar comparison website is claiming that an area the size of Derby could conceivably supply the UK with all the electricity it needs.
The Eco Experts took up the challenge of calculating how much land the UK would have to dedicate to installations in order to ensure that its total demand was met by solar-generated electricity.
The results, whilst very rough, are heart-warming.
In 2009 the UK consumed 351.8 billion kWh of electricity. The Eco Experts calculate that in order to produce that much electricity, the UK would need 102,458,062 well-positioned 4kWp solar arrays – an incredible 409GW of capacity.
The installations would take up roughly 2,635 km2; the UK is 244,820km2. Therefore, only one percent of the UK’s total land area would be required to install enough solar to cover our entire electricity needs. The Eco Experts also note that if larger commercial installations were used as the basis for the calculation that space required would be even smaller.
The solar comparison website has also had a crack at trying to work out how much 102,458,062 solar installations would cost the UK – an eye-watering £717,206,434,000.
Obviously such exercises should not be taken as a serious solution to powering the UK (at least not until scalable storage solutions arrive) but it does help effectively illustrate just how successful solar power could be in the UK. Especially when compared to its current share of generated capacity in the UK.
The Eco Experts’ infographic below explains in more detail: