it is not as common as in the United States, but the UK is determined to incorporate solar energy as part of their efforts to reduce their carbon footprint. Although the UK only gets about 60% of the sunlight that the equator receives, that sunlight is enough to power 1000 solar power plants. Also, solar panels still work and absorb sunlight when cloudy, so bad weather is not a completely legitimate excuse for solar panels to not be incorporated into the UK’s power system.
The UK falls behind other European countries in their use of solar power. According to figures in 2006, the UK totaled 250,000 square meters of solar panels between 62,000 installations, producing 175.6 MWth of power. This pales in comparison to Germany, for instance. However, the UK does commonly use direct sunlight to heat water pipes and thereby save electricity; this is accomplished by placing thin pipes – painted black – in an insulating device.
The UK doesn’t really invest much in solar, but rather in wind and wave. Because of it’s position on the globe ocean currents always bring water and wind to the UK. They plan to build an offshore 32 GW capacity wave and wind farms, to harness these. Though Germany doesn’t have much more sunlight than the UK for some reason it is much more widespread in Germany.
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