Castle Debates – Solar energy

Begonia Filgueira | 10 years ago

The ‘solar cell’ (also called a photovoltaic cell) converts the energy of light directly into electricity. A solar panel is a collection of solar cells and is usually made from layers of semiconducting materials, for example, silicon. When light shines on the panel it creates an electric field across the layers; the stronger the light the more electricity that is generated.

The benefits of solar electricity include a reduction in carbon footprint with no release of carbon dioxide or other pollutants. Individuals enjoy a reduction in electricity bills – the Government’s Feed-in-Tariffs pay for the electricity even if the installer uses it for their own needs – and the ability to sell any surplus electricity back to the national grid.

The Government’s current policy appears to be a move from large solar farms (or solar parks) which mainly supply electricity to the utilities to enabling the widespread building of solar installations on the roofs of warehouses, factories and supermarkets and increasing the domestic use from 500,000 homes to 1 million by the end of 2015.



Science: John Hanna, Vice-President, Balfour Beatty Infrastructure Partners (BBIP)

Law: Munir Hassan, Partner, CMS Cameron McKenna

Policy: Trevor Raggatt, Head of Small Scale and Emerging Renewables, Industry and Investment Team, DECC

Organised by Pamela Castle in conjunction with Sykes Environmental

For more information on the event and to view the speakers presentations see the website.


The purpose of the debates is to provide objective and factual clarification of selected current environmental issues. To this end, a panel of three experts addresses the applicable science, law and policy. Each speaker has 15 minutes to present and then the floor is open for a question-and-answer session from which a summary of the Debate is produced. Chaired by Pamela Castle OBE, they are held approximately on a monthly basis from October 2013 to December 2014 at various locations across London in association with Sykes Environmental and sponsored by Legal Sector Alliance and the ENDS Report.

Visit Castle Debates for more information and their up and coming events.

About the author

Begonia Filgueira

Begonia is a specialist in Environmental Law, governance and negotiation. Her career now spans 20 years having started as an environmental lawyer in the City. She is a dually qualified UK Solicitor and Spanish Abogada who provides legal advice, trains professionals and carries out complex research in the areas of International and EU environmental law. She also advises on treaty negotiations and implementation of EU law. Begonia has advised UNEP, UNDP, the European Commission, DEFRA and DOENI. She also advises industry and NGOs on environmental policy and regulation. BREXIT negotiations is her current area of specialism.