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Throughout March 2022, students on the University of Bolton’s BEng (Hons) Electrical and Electronic Engineering and MRes Environment Management programmes have been able to find out more about sustainable energy production on trips to Salford Road Solar Farm, run by Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA).
What is a solar farm?
GMCA’s solar farm is the largest public sector-owned site in the North West and has been producing electricity since Autumn 2016. The electricity produced powers the adjacent waste treatment facilities as well as being exported to the National Grid. Our students developed their knowledge on the trip, finding out more about the size and operation, maintenance and future development of the project, as well as recycling and waste management in Greater Manchester.
What did our students think?
Abdul Ayeni, the student on the MRes Environment Management course, enjoyed the informative visit.
‘I have been able to get first-hand information on the efficiency and limitations of solar-generated energy, the long-term economic advantage and how it helps the environment toward becoming carbon-neutral.
The real-time observations of how the panels are arranged to efficiently capture light, and how excess power generated can be sold to the National Grid have enlightened me more about electricity generated by solar technology.’
Another of our MRes Environment Management students, Busuyi Osunmadewa, shared:
‘The Salford Road Solar Farm visit is another eye-opener to the principle of sustainability. The visit did not only give a pathway to academic excellence but also bridged the gap between the review of literature and a practical sense of view when it comes to carbon-neutral and green energy environments.
A solar farm capable of producing 2.1 megawatts of electricity and that saves up to 600 tonnes of carbon per year is a pointer that Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are achievable, at least in fairness to agenda numbers: 7, 11, and 13 of the global goals; affordable and clean energy, sustainable cities and communities and climate action, respectively. That is the first lesson learnt from the site visit.
As a prospective environmental manager working on waste disposal, recycling and management. The waste treatment facilities powered by the solar farm which is eventually exported to the National Grid with the aims of recycling 55% of household waste by 2025/26 and 61% on average across 20 local recycling centres by 2021/22 is going to help my current research and give me a smooth lead to my subsequent works.’