UK’s Largest Solar Farm (4.9MWp) Connects to Electricity Network
The UK’s largest solar farm to date was fully commissioned and connected to the local electricity network on July 12th 2011.
The 4.9MWp solar power station, developed by Lark Energy, is located at Hawton, near Newark in Nottinghamshire. It has been built by German solar company Conergy and funded by Lightsource Renewable Energy and Octupus Investments.
The project, consisting of 21,000 solar panels mounted individually on steel racks across 30 acres of former quarry land, will provide enough energy for 1,300 homes.
The project partners faced a race against time to complete the project following the government’s sudden decision to slash incentive payments for large scale solar by 72%, taking effect at the end of July. The solar farm is expected to be one of just a handful completed before the deadline.
The financial deal enabling the project to go ahead was only signed on 1st June, leaving just 8 weeks for the scheme to be fully planned, built and connected. In the end, Conergy, assisted by Lark Energy and its sister construction company, Larkfleet, completed the project in just 6 weeks.
Jonathan Selwyn, Managing Director of Lark Energy, commented “I am delighted that Lark Energy has played a leading role in demonstrating how large scale renewable energy can be deployed quickly, and with the support of the local community, to help the UK address its carbon reduction and energy security requirements. That we have managed to beat the ludicrous deadline imposed by the government and complete this project in time a testament to the courage and dedication of the partners involved, all of whom stayed focused and committed to the task in hand”.
The scheme received planning consent in May.
Solar power is part of the country’s strategy to generate clean energy as a way to combat climate change and to provide secure long term energy sources for the UK. The 14.6 hectare solar farm at The Grange, Cotham Road is designed to deliver approximately 4.9 megawatts of power – enough annual electricity to supply around 1100 homes.
Photovoltaic panels (solar PV) harness the power of natural daylight to produce electricity. A ‘solar farm’ is a large number of solar panels mounted on racks fixed to the ground. The panels are south facing, generally around 1.8m high and are tilted towards the sun. The electricity produced is connected directly to the National Grid.
Solar farms are a simple and proven technology providing a source of safe, locally produced renewable energy for many years after construction. The land used for a solar farm creates places for nature and wildlife. The ground beneath the panels can also be used to graze small sheep, goats or poultry – or to grow grass and wildflowers.