Solar panels use photovoltaic (PV) technology to generate electrical power from daylight. Solar PV does not rely on intensive sunlight, daylight is sufficient for electricity generation. In that regard, the UK and Ireland have the capacity to generate significant volumes of solar energy.

The panels generate direct current. This is transformed via inverters into alternating current which is suitable for connection to the electricity network.

Photovoltaic technology has been in use for over fifty years, with most of us familiar with the solar powered calculator. Advances in technology have improved the efficiency and reliability of photovoltaic devices and grid connected solar panels have been in mass production worldwide since the early 2000s

As manufacturing scale increases, the cost of production is falling and solar PV is becoming an increasingly popular energy source globally.


Solar is now a mature technology which has been proven to have a minimal impact on the environment. Solar Farms do not have polluting emissions, are quiet and are generally not considered to be an eyesore.

As investment in solar rises globally the cost of technology is falling and solar is now the second cheapest form of renewable energy generation after onshore wind in Northern Europe.

The UK has so far deployed 12GW of solar PV developments. Solar power today accounts for roughly 2% of global electricity demand and 3.5% of European electricity demand, with that figure doubling for countries like Italy, Germany and Greece.

Solar helps provide energy security. In Ireland for example, almost €6 billion was spent on importing fossil fuels in 2014 alone.


Benefits of Solar Photovoltaic/PV or Solar Energy Solar electricity benefits the world economically, environmentally and socially.

Socio-Economic Benefits

  • Solar PV can be developed and installed faster than any other renewables with a typical construction period of 3 to 4 months.
  • Solar has a very predictable energy curve as it produces electricity during daylight hours.
  • Landowners can benefit from a stable, long-term income.
  • Solar development facilitates dual-usage of land as sheep can continue to graze between panels.
  • Solar farms can use the existing grid infrastructure and do not require major grid reinforcements.
  • Solar developments are easily screened using existing or new hedge rows.

Environmental Advantages

  • Solar energy provides electricity without emitting greenhouse gases or air pollutants.
  • Solar farms will help reduce CO2 emissions and reduce our dependence on imported fossil fuels.
  • Solar is clean, quiet and visually unobtrusive.
  • Solar farms can be placed in virtually every geographical region because the sun can shine everywhere.
  • The passive environment created around solar farms is an appealing habitat to a variety of wildlife and can enhance biodiversity.
  • Solar energy does not require the input of external fuel and therefore supports national energy independence.