Here comes the West's sun-powered solar 'gold rush'
Four years ago Cornwall Council predicted that it was "preparing for a solar power gold rush".
With companies eager to benefit from the guarantees of the Government's Feed in Tariff (TIF), as predicted, the following years saw a large amount of planning applications put before the local authority and its counterparts in Devon.
And the eagerness of the solar companies to take advantage of the region's longer hours of sunshine was reflected in the acceptance of the first application for a solar farm in the UK in Truro in 2010.
Since then the solar park at the former Wheal Jane mine site has been matched by countless others in Devon and Cornwall.
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In Cornwall alone there are 33 solar farms already operational producing 137MW of electricity.
In South Hams there have been 36 applications for solar arrays, ranging from panels to farms, approved, in Teignbridge at least another eight, as well as countless others across the rest of Devon.
The expansion has been welcomed by developers and industry experts, with the counties leading the way in the development of the technology and the thousands of jobs it supports.
However, it has not been welcomed with open arms by everyone, Somerset Liberal Democrat MP and Government minister Jeremy Browne labelling them a 'monstrous desecration' last month.
For many communities on the front line that feeling is shared.
In Luxylan and Bugle in Cornwall there are plans in existence for 219 acres worth of solar farms, with 42 acres already erected.
Roger Smith, from campaign group Luxylan Against Needless Development (LAND), which are strongly opposed to the proliferation, said the solar farms carry more than just a visual impact.
"It is also the fact that people need to be able to take pleasure from their environment, it contributes to people's wellbeing," he said. "It's not measured in planning but perhaps it should be.
"It's a low wage area but the fact that it is so considerably attractive acts as a compensation for that and makes it more attractive for people to stay and probably make their home.
"People are proud of their natural environment but if the solar sites are given approval it's going to have an impact on that.
"The greatest fear is that we will have an industrialised landscape. I think that another fear we have is the disservice it is doing to green energy, and it's dramatic.
"This is a rapid visual change. It's I think about an area that people love and cherish and the feeling of helplessness that nobody really wants."
Christine Wharton, from Fowey Renewable Energy Enterprise, said solar farms which have foreign owners don't keep all the financial benefits locally.
She said: "My personal preference is to site solar panels atop roofs or above car parks to avoid taking up precious countryside which will be needed for food production as global warming makes it harder to grow crops nearer the equator."
Conservative MP George Eustice warned in the Western Morning News on Saturday that the region was reaching "saturation point" for renewable technologies.
Yet, his fear is matched by the reassurance of those involved in the industry.
Merlin Hyman, the chief executive of independent sustainable energy centre Regen SW, said each project needs to be carefully scrutinised.
He said: "We need to make sure that developers, local authorities and local communities, work together to make sure the benefits for the community, such as local jobs, the right schemes, are there.
"The South West Renewable Energy Manifesto published this year sets out a commitment from local MPs, Local Enterprise Partnerships and businesses to make the south west a leader in renewable energy, creating 34,000 jobs by 2020."