A sunny outlook is forecast for solar energy

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A SHEFFIELD University project designed to monitor solar energy projects all over the country has found the vast majority are working just as they should.

Britain’s less than sunny climate has not stopped 
98 per cent of the 2,000 systems under review from ‘doing what they say on the tin’.

The scheme, called Sheffield Solar Farm, was launched in August 2010. Hundreds of homeowners and commercial organisations across the country have been uploading their energy generation figures to the project’s website, giving experts an unrivalled insight into the performance of the different types of systems available.

Lecturer Dr Alastair Buckley was surprised to find so many of the photovoltaic systems – which turn light energy into electricity – were so successful.

He said: “There are basically three main technology types that have been deployed in the UK, and they are all working well - that is ’to spec’.

“About 2 per cent of systems we have data for are clearly under-performing. We would have expected more systems to be under par - but it seems that the UK weather, with its lack of direct sunshine, actually makes installations less sensitive to problems than might be expected.”

The project has attracted more than £420,000 of funding from the energy industry and will continue until at least 2015.