IN considering the merits of solar panels for producing electricity, experience has clearly shown the technology can be deemed viable and environmentally friendly when fitted to buildings in the UK.

Indeed a 4 kW roof mounted system will generate on average in the region of 4000 kWh per annum – in other words, that’s 4,000 fewer units of electricity needed from conventional power stations each year – the average house uses about 4,000 kWh per annum.

Additionally small scale solar panels are made more attractive with the government subsidy in the form of the Feed-in-Tariff (FIT).

However the downside of roof fitted solar panels is the dependency/frequency of a decent level of solar radiation in the UK and, of course, they do not operate at night – luckily there is (currently) the dependable grid to come to the rescue when the sun does not shine.

Unfortunately large arrays of solar panels as with wind farms, do not lend themselves to large scale secure power generation in the UK.

So one wonders at the madness of the proposed £400m Cleve Hill Solar Farm, at Graveney, near Whitstable in Kent (it will be UK’s largest solar farm).

This project will cover 890 acres and is said to be capable of powering 110,000 homes – but what they don’t say, is that number of homes will only have electricity when there is sufficient solar radiation. The whole project can be deemed doubly stupid when the electricity generated will be sent to the same substation that receives power from the London Array.

The London Array is currently the world’s largest offshore wind farm, having 175 wind generators and said to generate up to 630MW – again what they don’t volunteer is this generation is only true when the wind is at its optimum for maximum power generation.

So what happens on that freezing cold day in the winter, when it is dark and there is no wind – if householders are dependent on these two very large arrays then there will be no lighting, nor heating – zilch – for secure power generation it is total madness.

But then the whole concept of generating large scale electricity from the wind is Alice in Wonderland stuff, such that wind farm operators have been paid almost £360m to switch off their generators due to high winds or when generating too much power when the grid does not need the power.

Remember conventional power stations are directly under the control of power engineers, but electricity from the wind (just like solar) is at the mercy of nature – such is the medieval nature of wind technology. It is utterly shameful that millions have been spent and wasted on these limited and costly forms of power generation, which at the end of the day the consumer pays the price.

As an island we are surrounded by tidal energy, so why are our so-called leaders dragging their feet on such projects as the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon? Indeed, technological and engineering challenged politicians such as Ed Miliband, Chris Huhne, Ed Davey and Amber Rudd have a lot to answer for – future generations will find it hard to forgive our lethargy in allowing politicians to treat us like sheep and letting UK energy strategy become that of the mad house.

Let us hope Greg Clark, the Secretary for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, truly understands the necessary science and as such will not approve this foolish scheme in Kent, turning his attention to the much more reliable and sensible use of tidal energy – I assume he is aware that the second highest tidal range on the planet takes place in the Bristol Channel – a perfect location for tidal lagoons.