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Solar UK

solaruk.net

Founded Year

2003

Stage

Angel | Alive

Total Raised

$160K

Last Raised

$160K | 19 yrs ago

About Solar UK

Provider of solar water heating systems. [Keywords: cleantech, energy/electricity generation, solar]

Headquarters Location

Crabtree Farm The Warren

Crowborough, England, TN6 1UB,

United Kingdom

44 189 266 7320

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Expert Collections containing Solar UK

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Solar UK is included in 1 Expert Collection, including Renewable Energy.

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Renewable Energy

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Latest Solar UK News

'The opposite is true': Solar industry rubbishes claims it poses threat to UK farmland

Aug 19, 2022

Share Image: Livestock are frequently found grazing in the same fields as solar farms are situated | Credit: iStock Solar Energy UK raps PM candidates Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss for suggesting large solar farms pose risk to UK food security The UK solar industry has rubbished claims from Tory leadership candidates Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak that solar farms pose a threat to farmland, pointing out that climate change poses by far the bigger risk to food security and therefore further underscores the need to decarbonise energy sources. Trade body Solar UK was moved to release a statement this afternoon hitting back at suggestions that have emerged from both Sunak and Truss campaign teams over the past fortnight that ground-mount solar farms risk swallowing up valuable land for food crops and livestock grazing. At present, around 70 per cent of UK land is used for some form of agricultural production, while ground-mount solar farms are estimated be spread across around 0.06 per cent of land - significantly less space than is used for airports, golf courses and mines in the UK. However, following claims from Truss last week that field-based solar arrays were a "depressing" sight in the British countryside, her rival Sunak today broadly echoed her stance, promising to "make sure that high quality farmland is kept in production and not used for housing, ‘rewilding' or large-scale solar farms". But pushing back against such claims - which saw both Truss and Sunak suggest they would seek to review planning rules for arable farmland if they are elected PM - Solar UK today argued that solar farms could in fact play a key role in enhancing the supply of food in the UK. "The candidates for PM continue to claim that solar farms are a threat to food security when the opposite is true," it said in a statement. "One of the biggest risks to food security is our changing climate. This is clear from recent reports on how this year's drought is literally shrinking the potato crop. Solar farms address climate change and so help prevent this, and are frequently used to graze livestock at the same time." The trade body also pointed to other local environmental benefits provided by solar farms, such as supporting flora, fauna and biodiversity, while also helping provide additional revenues for farmers and cutting the cost of soaring energy bills for consumers. "This directly helps sustain UK crop production," Solar UK said. "Solar Energy UK supports ground mount and rooftop solar, both of which are helping to reduce the UK's carbon emissions, displace the fossil fuels that are causing the energy price crisis, create jobs, and increase our energy security." Across several platforms, including a self-penned article in The Telegraph, and also in a letter to the National Farmers' Union published this morning , Sunak pledged to review planning rules if elected PM in order to safeguard valuable farmland, and also to establish new "food security target". The former Chancellor argued that large-scale solar farms should not be built "on best and most versatile agricultural land" and that ‘rewilding' should only take place "where it would have no or minimal impact on food production". It is not the first time during the current campaign to replace Boris Johnson as Prime Minister that Sunak has pushed back against cheap renewable electricity sources, with the former Chancellor having also having faced criticism from clean energy advocates for pledging to maintain the effective ban on new onshore windfarms in England. His comments, which echo some of those made last week by Truss, come despite widespread polling support for solar and wind, both among Tory voters themselves, and across the wider UK public. Farmers themselves have also been increasingly investing in solar panels on their land, amid growing concerns about soaring food production and energy costs, as onsite renewables can help diversify their income and reduce their exposure to soaring fossil gas prices. But Sunak and his rival have both this week sought to cast solar power a potential barrier to tackling the worsening global food crisis, which consulting giant McKinsey yesterday warned could leave the world short of 60 million tonnes of grain by the end of next year. Such comments have garnered heavy criticism from across the political spectrum, however. Director of the right-wing Centre for Policy Studies think tank, Robert Colville - who also co-authored the Conservative Party's 2019 general election manifesto - said it was "really weird to be mounting a dogged Nimbyist campaign against a thing most people really like - including farmers". "Especially at a time when producing more cheap, secure, renewable energy in your own country might be a really good idea," he added on Twitter. "You can tell this is about Nimbyism not preserving arable land for food supply because we currently devote way more land than solar would need to growing biofuels to thin out our petrol." Both Tory leadership candidates were asked by the National Farmers Union to set out their vision and policy commitments for UK farmers this week, as the sector faces major challenges from the impact of prolonged drought which is expected to put a significant dent in crop production this year. In addition to establishing a new food security target backed by a statutory duty to monitor and repot on domestic food levels each year, Sunak today promised to chair a UK-wide annual food security at Downing Street in partnership with the NFU and other stakeholders. Moreover, he said would introduce a new target for public sector organisations to buy 50 per cent of their food locally "to back British farmers and improve sustainability" "I will aggressively champion UK food and drink, including the environmental and health benefits of UK-produced meat, through a new advertising campaign and by working with British supermarkets," wrote Sunak. "I will also use the powers we have under the Agriculture Act to ensure that supply chains are made fairer." Elsewhere, meanwhile, Sunak also highlighted the widespread concerns of UK farmers about several free trade deals signed with countries such as Australia and New Zealand since Brexit, which critics warn are likely to lead to the UK market being flooded with cheap food produced to lower environmental and animal welfare standards abroad, thereby undercutting British farmers. Sunak appeared to voice sympathy with concerns over such trade deals, and promised that "on my watch we won't rush through trade deals at the expense of farmers", adding that he would "maintain the highest standards of animal welfare, environmental protection and food safety". "I know that farmers are concerned by some of the trade deals that have been struck, including with Australia. I will make farmers a priority in all future trade deals," Sunak wrote. "They will take as long as they take and we won't water down our standards." As former International Trade Secretary and now incumbent Foreign Secretary, Liz Truss played a major role in brokering and signing off on the UK's post-Brexit free trade deals, and Sunak's comments are therefore likely to be interpreted as a swipe at his Tory leadership rival. For her part, Truss also responded to the NFU's call for clarity on her agricultural policy positions, although in keeping with her campaign so far, her missive included few concrete commitments and scant detail. However, she insisted she had spent a "large amount of time securing market access for British producers", while in government and that she believed "each and every trade deal must be approached in a way that safeguards out high standards and look ed on a case by case basis". Truss, widely tipped as the frontrunner to replace Boris Johnson in Downing Street, also reiterated her common refrain of criticism regulations, particularly from the EU, for holding back the farming industry and allowing too much agricultural land to be used for other means. "By removing red tape we can also make it easier for British farmers to adopt, develop and invest in the latest farming technology and infrastructure," Truss wrote. "Whether it's the EU regulations that continue to restrict agricultural drone use or precision breeding technologies, I want our farmers to be able to unleash their competitive advantage and create the agriculture industry of the future." Britain's new Prime Minister is set to be announced on 5 September. Share

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Solar UK Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

  • When was Solar UK founded?

    Solar UK was founded in 2003.

  • Where is Solar UK's headquarters?

    Solar UK's headquarters is located at Crabtree Farm, Crowborough.

  • What is Solar UK's latest funding round?

    Solar UK's latest funding round is Angel.

  • How much did Solar UK raise?

    Solar UK raised a total of $160K.

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