So you think it’s pretty cool that you installed solar panels on your roof to collect free energy from the sun? London has a way of making that achievement look pretty small.
On the water, east of London, the British just have finished building a 23,000-solar panel floating array on the Queen Elizabeth II reservoir at Walton-on-Thames.
“This will be the biggest floating solar farm in the world for a time—others are under construction,” said Angus Berry, energy manager for Thames Water, told the Guardian newspaper. “We are leading the way, but we hope that others will follow, in the UK and abroad.”
The $8.5 million pound project will allow the solar structure to treat the area’s entire drinking water plants for decades. It will provide clean drinking water for 10 million people in London and south-east London. The idea of putting solar panels on water is that that it is largely unused, whereas such an area of land would be quite expensive. The project does not harm sea life, and fish are easily able to swim into areas where the solar panels don’t block sunlight.
The British Government has slashed subsidies for solar and wind power, but Berry said this will not effect the QEII project, but might have an effect for future products.
Want to get a look at the QEII solar project? Good luck. It’s only visible by air from Heathrow Airport (or from a few apartment buildings in the nearby area).