The Anonymous Widower

Huge Solar Farm Plan

The title of this post is the same as that of a small article in today’s copy of The Times.

This is said.

Plans for Britain’s largest solar farm have been submitted to the government. Cleeve Hill Solar Park between Whitstable and Faversham in Kent would be five times bigger than the present largest solar farm, in Wiltshire, and provide enough clean energy to power more than 91,000 homes. A ruling is expected by the end of 202.

According to this page on the OVO Energy web site, the average household in the UK used 3,940 kWh in 2014.

This is 0.45 kWh per hour.

On this figure, the 91,000 houses would use 358.4 GWH

Compare this output with the 240 MW of the world’s first nuclear power station at Calder Hall, which opened in 1956, which in a year would generate 2104 GWH

Cleeve Hill Solar Park has a web site, which together with other sites gives more details of the project.

  • The project has an area of 360 hectares.
  • The project will be connected to the grid using an existing sub-station, that is used to connect the London Array wind farm in the Thames Estuary to the grid.
  • The solar panels are laid close together to create the maximum amount of electricity.

On this information it looks like a solar farm in the UK, which is the size of 360 football pitches, can generate a sixth of the power of the world’s first and admitted small nuclear power station.

The web site also includes this informative schematic of a typical solar farm.

Note that battery storage is included, which I find significant.

  • Battery or some other form of energy storage would be used to smooth the peaks and troughs of generation and use.
  • Is it significant that it shares a sub-station that is used to connect wind turbines to the grid?
  • So will the solar panels charge the batteries and then this energy will be sent to the grid, when the wind isn’t blowing?

The battery would be sized accordingly and calculating the size required is a the sort of problem that needs some comprehensive mathematical modelling.

  • Using past sun and wind data, it would be possible to predict likely weather on a day-to-day basis.
  • This data would be fed into a mathematical model of the wind and solar farms, with different sizes of batteries.
  • A battery size would be chosen, that didn’t allow 91,000 houses in Kent to be without power.

But don’t worry, if you live in Kent, as there are other power stations nearby that could step in.

Having run mathematical models for complicated systems since the late 1960s, I know that this problem is within the capabilities of today’s mathematicians and computers.

The Potential Power Of The Cleeve Hill Solar Farm

The Internet entry for Solar Power In The UK has a section called Solar Potential, where this is said.

London receives 0.52 and 4.74 kWh/m² per day in December and July, respectively. While the sunniest parts of the UK receive much less solar radiation than the sunniest parts of Europe, the country’s insolation in the south is comparable with that of central European countries, including Germany, which generates about 7% of its electricity from solar power. Additionally, the UK’s higher wind speeds cool PV modules, leading to higher efficiencies than could be expected at these levels of insolation.

I’ll start by looking at December.

The solar array at Cleeve Hill will be 360 hectares, which need to be converted to square metres. A hectare is roughly the size of a football pitch like Wembley or 100 metres x 100 metres.

So I can say the following.

  • The area of the Cleeve Hill solar farm is 3,600,000 square metres.
  • If I assume that Cleeve Hill gets the same amount of sunlight as London, I can say that on each day in December the solar farm will receive an average of 0.52 * 3,600,000 kWh or 1872 MWh of solar energy.
  • I have found web sites that say that the best solar panels are twenty percent efficient, which means that on an average December day 374.4 MWh will be generated.
  • This is 4.11 kWh for each of the 91,000 households.

Looking at July, I can say the following.

  • If I assume that Cleeve Hill gets the same amount of sunlight as London, I can say that on each day in July the solar farm will receive an average of 4.74 * 3,600,000 kWh or 17064 MWh of solar energy.
  • Using the same twenty percent efficiency, which means that on an average July day 3412.8 MWh will be generated.
  • This is 37.5 kWh for each of the 91,000 households.

I have created an Excel Workbook, that shows the energy generation for a 360 hectare solar farm, through a year.

  • I obtained the insolation rates from this page on the Contemporary Energy web site.
  • Other data came from Cleeve Hill Solar Farm.
  • All parameters can be changed are and at the first part of the workbook.
  • It is in Word 97 format

Click this link to download.





November 17, 2018 - Posted by | World | ,

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