Solar power is becoming more and more common place since the feed-in tariff began in 2010. Walk down any suburban street and you are more than likely to see one or more houses enjoying the benefits of the sunshine. Ofgem reports have shown since the feed-in tariffs began we have seen a gradual rise year on year in photovoltaic systems being installed in residential properties.

It's not only in our homes that we're seeing solar power being put to use, we're seeing more diverse applications from our ambulance fleets to sports stadiums. As an example Northampton Saints football stadium is becoming one of the first major sporting venues in the UK to install solar panels to help power the sports facility.

The club acknowledges the need to loosen our reliance on hydrocarbons, and review renewable energy sources. Northampton football club is not the only stadium embracing solar energy, the new San Francisco 49ers stadium, currently due to open next year, is just one of many more stadiums overcoming some of the hurdles still in place in adopting a greener outlook. 400 kilowatts of high efficiency solar panels will power part of the stadium's energy needs: this amount of power is equivalent to the electricity used by approximately 100 homes per day.

Research in the area continues to carve out new ground. For example a team of researchers are looking at developing solar paint which will have a competitive conversion efficiency as well as being priced competitively to allow large scale uptake.