As people across the U.S. celebrate the nation's Independence Day on July 4, solar farms in the U.K. will be opening to the public in honor of what has been dubbed Solar Independence Day.
According to the Solar Trade Association, the event is an effort to show what solar projects can do for rural areas in supporting local farmers and wildlife. Residents, schools, businesses and community groups across the U.K. will be making their way to nearby solar farms to ask questions about how the renewable energy technology works.
"Solar is a secure, home-grown solution to Britain's dual crises of security of supply and spiraling energy bills," says Paul Barwell, the Solar Trade Association's chief executive." It means independence from fossil fuel imports and independence for consumers.
"Solar Independence Day is about involving local people and raising awareness of the facts: solar makes no noise, has no moving parts and produces no waste or carbon," he continues.
The event is part of a wider 10 Commitments push from the Solar Trade Association on the responsible development of solar farms. The industry is working to show how solar farms can be sited on low-quality land, have minimal visual impact and be used to enhance biodiversity.
However, the association says the day is also about making a serious point to the U.K. government that it must continue supporting solar.
"The cost of solar has fallen by 65 percent since this government came to power," says Barwell." We want to get to the point where we can compete without public subsidy. But if our politicians hold solar back, if they do not provide a stable policy environment and a level playing field, we may never get there."
The association says Solar Independence Day has received widespread support, with the Bumblebee Conservation Trust set to attend the Tavells solar farm in Hampshire and the National Farmers Union to be represented at another site near Loughborough. Children from St Bartholomew's CE Primary School will be attending the Dunsfold solar farm in Surrey, and children from Willersey CE Primary School in Gloucestershire have also spent the week painting bird, bat and hedgehog boxes for a new nearby farm.