This year the UK, a country famous for its cool, drizzly climate, had one of its hottest summers of all time. With a temperature of 32C or more recorded for 15 consecutive days, Britain matched countries with far hotter average temperatures, leading to a chaos of melting pavements and hosepipe bans.
However, power-outputs from Bristol’s solar park showed an interesting spike. The city’s Avonmouth solar park generated 797,112 kWh between 1 May and 25 July 18, – enough to power 257 homes for a whole year. This was over 120,000 kWh more than the same time period last year, which is the equivalent of enough power for an extra 39 homes. While this year’s heatwave can be attributed to various meteorological elements, there is no denying that climate change is having an effect on the amount of sun many countries are receiving. So could climate change bring some benefits to countries who currently have a comparatively low yield of solar energy? Many people see renewable energy as a solution to a foreboding future, and this is true in some areas. According to a study conducted in 2011, solar panels should see an increase in efficiency with the change in climate. In terms of how it will benefit a country such as Germany, predictions saw photovoltaic panels gain around 3% efficiency, while solar farms would go up by 10% by 2080. Countries such as Britain could therefore benefit from this increased sunshine, however, this may not be the case for places like the Middle East which may see a decrease in solar efficiency. However, their intake will stay be higher than countries like the UK. Even though this seems to suggest a silver lining to climate change, global warming will have some negative consequences on solar energy. Concentrated solar thermal plants may benefit from higher temperatures, but more dry areas will result in needing more water to cool the systems. Dry-cooling technology also becomes less effective as temperatures rise. Keeping this in mind, research should be using the putting efforts into making this readily available solar power more efficient. Therefore, with more research and investment, colder countries such as the UK could work to harness this rare positive side effect of climate change. With the increase in solar efficiency, now is the perfect time for professionals to equip themselves with essential training in Solar Photovoltaics to deal with the rising demand.
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