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How Do Solar Farms Work?

Over the last decade or so, solar farms have been popping up across the country. Yet despite their increasing presence, a lot of people aren’t sure how they work or what the benefits can be over time.

Like a lot of new technology, these solar farms appear alongside residential rooftops or commercial solar panels without a lot of knowledge being shared amongst the public. Now, more than ever, solar panels have become more common due to grants and opportunities offered by the government.

Understanding Solar Farms and Their Function

Solar farms are essentially fields or large areas of land where solar panels, also known as photovoltaic (PV) panels, are distributed within that space to take sunlight and heat and turn it into energy. They’ve been increasingly popular in order to generate larger amounts of energy at a time that can be fed into the grid.

The energy generated can be converted into electricity. This enables energy companies to act more sustainably and provide renewable energy for homes and businesses without needing their own source.

What are the different types of solar farms?

There are two very distinct solar farm types that exist in the UK. The first is utility-sale farms, and the other is community-based.

Utility-scale solar farms

These types of farms cover larger pieces of land – you might have seen them as you drive through the countryside. The largest solar farm in the UK is Shotwick Solar Park in Wales, covering a whopping 250 acres and producing 72.2MW per year.

Utility-scale solar farms often work with businesses to sell a certain amount of energy to power their businesses and different sites and are owned privately. This is because the amount of energy they create is substantially larger than community solar farms.

Community solar farms

Community solar farms are smaller farms that cater to local homes and businesses. In comparison, these farms typically generate about 5MW per year for those in the community who sign up for the scheme.
Those that do will receive their electricity bills based on how much energy they use within their home. Any excess energy they generate can be sold back to the grid at competitive prices contributing to the overall carbon footprint and climate change.

Environmental and Economic Impact

There have been concerns surrounding the locations of solar farms and the sacrifice of landscapes. However, there are processes in place to assess the impact and benefits before these farms are installed.

Most solar farms are located in rural locations and require the assessment of the area and sunlight. There are also questions about the impact on wildlife and agriculture, yet there is significant evidence that solar farms can help farmers’ incomes and have a positive impact on the economy.


With rising energy costs and a growing global awareness of environmental issues, solar power is more relevant than ever. It’s important that homes and businesses consider switching to solar energy so that the world can survive on clean energy and the planet enjoys a longer lifespan.