Head Girl's Blog… The merits of the Thames solar project

To contain the effects of enhanced global warming, it is obvious that there is need curtail the use of fossil fuels and fall in love with renewable energy solutions. Though this may seem a flippant statement it is one that the scientific community is keen that we realise sooner rather than later, as they estimate fossil fuel use will need to fall twice as fast as estimated to save our planet from the worst effects.  

However, renewable energy projects are not without their problems: some see them as unattractive, they can take up a lot of space, are extortionate in price and can be very inefficient in creating energy. Although I have no solution to all these problems an interesting project that is taking place in London has caught my attention.

London uses a vast amount of energy to remain functional and space for renewable energy projects close to the city is at a premium; however, 23,000 solar panels are being placed on the Queen Elizabeth II reservoir at Walton-on-Thames. This will only be visible to a handful of properties and will only cover 6% of the reservoir. Its size will make it the largest in Europe and it will provide energy for a water treatments centre nearby. 

One of the benefits of placing solar panels on water is that panels and the wires work optimally at a cooler temperature as they lose less energy due to heat loss. It will also have very minimal effect on the natural habitats as any fish there are an accident and there is still plenty of space for water birds, including moorhens and gulls. 

Despite this it would need to be far greater in size to start to provide for a large number of homes and this may not be viable in other cities. However, it does provide food for thought and hope for the future of our energy crisis.