Lark Energy Secures Planning Permission for UK’s Largest Solar Farm (32MWp)
Lark Energy, a leading solar development and construction company, has secured planning permission for the UK’s largest solar farm at the site of a former World War II airfield in Leicestershire.
The 32MWp solar project at Wymeswold Airfield will consist of around 125,000 panels positioned on land between the old runways, amounting to some 150 acres.
The airfield is currently being used for a mixture of agricultural and leisure uses, including a driving experience operator and a kite club. None of the current users will be affected by the solar farm once it is operational.
Lark Energy has worked closely with the landowners, Charnwood Borough Council, the local parish councils and the local community in developing its plans and received planning permission at a council planning committee on 8th November.
Lark Energy has partnered with Hazel Capital to finance the construction of the £35 million project and work will start on the project by the end of November.
The solar farm builds on Lark Energy’s track record of developing and constructing 20MWp of solar projects, including two of the UK’s largest solar farms in 2011.
Jonathan Selwyn, Managing Director of Lark Energy, commented “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.
We are delighted that Charnwood Borough Council has granted us planning permission for the project at Wymeswold Airfield and look forward to working with the Council, the landowners and Hazel Capital in realising the delivery of this exciting project. We are committed to developing significant solar assets in the UK and continue to see a bright future for the technology in this country”.
Edward Packe-Drury-Lowe, estate manager says, “It has been a pleasure working with the team at Lark Energy to achieve this planning consent. The solar park will add another diversification to the Prestwold Estate with energy joining food production and leisure. We all look forward to working on the implementation."
Hazel Capital has recently paid for the rights to acquire the project rights from Lark Energy in order to build the project prior to 31st March 2013; at which time it is broadly expected that there will be a reduction in the remuneration for such solar projects under the current regulatory regime.
“We are delighted to be involved in this large, first-of-its-kind project in the UK. We believe that larger industrial sites make great locations for solar projects going forward in the UK”, says Ben Guest, Managing Partner of Hazel Capital.
Lark Energy is part of the Larkfleet Group of companies, a privately owned construction and development group based in the East Midlands. The company develops and installs a range of renewable energy solutions, with a focus on photovoltaic (PV) systems and Anaerobic Digestion (AD). Lark Energy has developed and installed over 20 MWp of PV projects since May 2011, including large scale solar farms, ground and roof mounted commercial projects and domestic installations.
Wymeswold Airfield forms part of the Prestwold Estate in Leicestershire. Managed by Edward Packe-Drury-Lowe, it consists of over 1,000 hectares of farmland, parkland and the airfield.
Established in 2007, Hazel Capital is an independent London-based specialist investment manager investing exclusively in those "cleantech" sectors which help overcome global resource constraints and achieve a sustainable environment. Since 2010, Hazel Capital has been overwhelmingly focused on the development of renewable energy projects in the UK and elsewhere in Europe, with the majority of capital being deployed in Solar PV for roof and ground mounted systems and small wind turbines. Hazel Capital is an FSA registered partnership.