Four years ago I filmed the construction of the UK's largest solar farm which was fun to document in my own way and visually impressive too, but the technology involved was very basic when compared to the site I am working on now.
Here is the resulting film from 2015 which has had 42,310 views on YouTube. One of my more popular time-lapses it seems.
Make way for the NEW AGE of solar
The sun moves throughout the day so it is logical that the modules should also move, maintaining the optimum position. For the life of me I cannot understand how it has taken this country so long to finally figure this out. The CEO of Gridserve (the company behind this project) tells me it is more about politics and bureaucracy than anything else.
What a ridiculous world we live in!
Intelligent torque bars
Instead of being fixed in a static position, the solar modules are on torque bars.
These torque bars are controlled by central points which are receiving data all the time from the system's computer.
The computer has an algorithm which calculates the optimal position for the modules based on the the position of sun and the time of year. It even has the ability to set each row at a slightly different inclination, avoiding any potential shadows when the sun is low.
The mechanism to move the torque bars has its own power source, the baby solar modules seen here.
All in all a very neat system which doesn't eat into the main power output.
You can see how unlike ordinary solar modules, these ones look the same on both sides. This is a first for any company to test on a large scale so no one knows how much extra energy this will generate. Estimates are coming in between 5% and 15%.
It seems to me if they put something reflective on the ground, this would help.
Their biggest issue will be the plants which naturally want to take back their field! And if left unchecked they will keep getting taller till they hit the torque bar mechanism, causing some problems.
Safety in the wind
As we go deeper into the Grand Solar Minimum, higher winds can be expected and any fixed position solar farms are potentially in danger.
The solution is a weather station connected to the main computer.
Behind me you can see one such weather station, complete with its own solar power source.
So, any high winds are immediately dealt with by flattening out the modules.
A neat & logical solution.
Normally a solar farm feeds directly into the grid.
But what this means is a glut of electricity when the sun is high in the sky, making the price of energy cheap at this time of day.
At the heart of this site is the battery storage & control centre.
Lovely branded shipping containers, modified for a very unique job.
To store a shit load of power.
Here are the batteries. At least I think that's what these are. Looks more like a mining rig to me!
Hmmmm.... and these guys are invested in crypto. I wonder if they are up to something???
By storing the power in batteries now they can release it onto the grid when it is most needed, like at 6am for example, when everyone turns on their kettle before another hellish day at work!
Gridserve have basically designed a way to sell their electricity at a much better rate.
Storing energy is never efficient.
And let's not even go down the road of how much energy it takes to create this quantity of PV panels & lithium ion batteries.
The BIGGER downside
All of this may look great and even feel something like hope for the future, but I'm sorry to tell you it is not.
This is a centralised system. It sells you power at a premium, making corporations rich at the expense of your dependence on their expensive and wasteful product.
Even the companies offering to put solar on your roof are still just feeding it back into the grid, making EVERYONE reliant on that little hole in the wall...
...which may (for a whole plethora of reasons) one day stop providing you power.
Do not be fooled
If you want to be independent from the grid (which I HIGHLY recommend!) you will need solar and battery storage of your own.
Producing the energy where it is needed is the most efficient way to do it. And, if you can get your hands on DC products you eliminate the need for further waste by using a transformer to create AC power.
Back in my days in Indonesia I worked for a company called Sundaya who understood very well the problem and the solution.
I made this film to demonstrate how easy it is now to find this kind of independence from the grid. The JouleBox is an awesome kit capable of transforming the way you power so many aspects of your home life.
I still intend to buy a bunch of the JouleStick kits, ready to re-sell them to you for STEEM. Once my final pay cheque comes in!
The JouleBox will be my next step. Let's see if the JouleSticks sell first.
Never again will I work for a company with whom I do not feel energetically aligned with.
The brothers who run this particular company I love very much and have known their family since the age of seven, so this felt different. I wanted to help them with their new venture & I wish them all the best.
But now I am done.
Am looking forward to showing you the new film & getting back to being a farmer in the South of France!
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