‘More than 45,000 solar panels needed to reach energy targets’

THE island is likely to need more than 45,000 solar panels to reach new solar energy targets – which could take up an area two-thirds the size of Saumarez Park.


Industry experts have said that the 10MW target by 2028 is achievable but ambitious, and islanders are speculating just where these solar arrays might go, including on domestic roofs and commercial arrays which might be able to use disused glasshouse sites.

Bob Beebe, CEO of The Little Green Energy Company, estimated that 45,000 solar panels, of a standard size of 40 by 66 inches, would be required to produce 10% of our existing annual electricity requirements.

‘With intelligent design and correct application of solar technology to buildings, structures and unsightly land areas in the island this can be accomplished,’ he said.

Side-by-side, the array would require more than 22 acres, an area about two-thirds the size of Saumarez Park. But the report published this week by Environment & Infrastructure outlines an increase in solar capacity island-wide in different methods. It said it expected to see nearly two-thirds of solar PV installed in commercial areas and car parks, 22% on domestic rooftops, and just 15% in agricultural settings.

Mr Beebe said that another factor to consider was the electrical output of solar PV panels had increased significantly in recent years. ‘10 years ago, 90W of electrical output from a panel would be the expected norm, now 400W peak output can be achieved on a smaller single solar PV panel.

‘Technology continues to improve and develop, somewhat akin to computer memory stick capacity from the 1990s to today, where incredible performance has been achieved, and this analogy will undoubtedly apply to solar PV technology.’

UK industry expert Phillip Homer, who has a masters in civil and environmental engineering from Stanford, agreed with the estimate.

He said there were a great deal of variables that would impact on the actual area or number of solar panels needed, but that it was an achievable goal.

‘We have seen Japan, Italy and Germany all hitting 10% of their total electricity generation in recent years through solar technology.’

The E&I strategy report indicates that private investment in solar technology is expected to increase the island’s current output from 350kW to 600kW in the next few months. The report aspires to reach 50MW of solar electricity by 2050.

It also raised the question of whether commercial solar farms could be developed locally, or would have to be owned by Guernsey Electricity.

In 2021 Guernsey used almost 400GWh of electricity and this is predicted to rise to 625GWh by 2050.

Top Stories

More From The Guernsey Press

UK & International News