Photovoltaic (PV) technology, more commonly known as solar power, is quickly gaining steam. Any homeowner with enough space on his roof can purchase an array of solar panels for household use.
In the UK, more and more companies are specialising in the distribution and sale of PV technology. It is not an entirely new thing. Ecolution, for example, has 12 years of experience in solar panel installations.
While solar panels have been available to the public for quite some time now, it was only recently that it started to gain popularity. However, critics worry about the environmental impact of solar panels, particularly considering the amount of space it needs to remain operational. They argue that converting large swathes of land into solar farms is as disruptive as deforestation.
How Much Land Does Solar Power Really Need?
Yes, it is true that solar power relies on the use of land to function. Photovoltaic panels need to maximise surface area to absorb the most amount of sunlight. The more sunlight, the more electricity it produces.
The current technology for solar panels is still somewhat inefficient. Solar power is only 20% efficient; it can only convert 20% of the sun’s energy into electricity.
To power the entire world, current technology will require 496,805 sq. km of land. That is roughly the size of Spain. While this may seem like a lot of land, in the context of the whole world, this is just a tiny fraction of space. In fact, if it were possible for solar panels to work at 100% efficiency, it will need even less space.
Total Use VS Shared Use of Land
A solar farm will require a lot of land to be operational, but solar arrays can easily share the space. Unlike traditional power plants, which make total use of the land it occupies, solar panels do not.
You can install solar panels on top of buildings, on roofs and even on roads. Solar panels are also ideal for desert regions that have sparse vegetation and few animals. This makes it minimally disruptive at best. Solar power is still one of the cleanest, greenest sources of electricity at our disposal.