Several members of the Solar Trade Association (STA) will open up their solar farms to visitors from local homes, schools, businesses and community groups across England and Wales on 4th July1 as part of a nationwide event called Solar Independence Day. The event is designed to give visitors the opportunity to ask any questions they have about solar energy to the people building the projects whilst demonstrating how solar energy is making the UK more independent from the rising costs of polluting fossil fuels imported from overseas.
“There’s a really positive story to be told about how benign, unobtrusive solar farms are quietly reducing our carbon emissions, boosting local biodiversity, helping farmers diversify their income, creating jobs and enhancing the UK’s energy security," said Paul Barwell, STA chief executive. "We need to tell this story to counter the bad news stories resulting from a tiny minority of poor quality projects seized on gleefully by some newspapers and politicians.”
The solar tour "open house" event is part of the solar industry's commitment to building enduring relationships with communities. The principle of ‘solar stewardship’ is key to the STA’s ‘10 Commitments’ guidance for the responsible development of solar farms. The STA followed the 10 Commitments earlier this year with guidance on how solar farms can also become biodiversity hotspots, jointly produced with the BRE National Solar Centre and supported by several leading UK conservation charities, including the RSPB and National Trust. The STA is also working with Government to facilitate shared ownership of renewable energy projects between commercial developers and local communities.
1. The 4th July famously marks the birth of the independent United States of America. The UK solar industry has chosen this day for the event because increased independence is a key benefit of solar energy in the region.