The UK’s largest solar farm is switched online

9 Jan

The largest solar farm in the UK has been turned on capable of powering up to 14,000 homes. The farm in Landmead has been connected to the national grid in Oxfordshire. The solar farm sports an impressive 46-megawatt capacity and has been implemented on land which is currently being used to graze sheep. The sheep will remain on the site along with new wildflowers to be planted as part of efforts to improve the site’s biodiversity.

The land also provides habitat for bee’s which has been encouraged by the UK’s environment secretary, Liz Truss. Although, the Landmead solar farm faced disapproval from Truss who claimed that solar projects obstruct food production amongst UK farms. It was also announced that farmers would lose agricultural subsidies if they allowed solar panels on their farmland.

Landmead Solar Farm

The Department of Energy and Climate Change plan to bring forward the end of the current subsidy regime for large solar farms, with ministers saying they wanted to see more solar on building rooftops and less mounted on the ground.

Landmead with First Solar is co-owned by Beletric whose chief executive has announced that the changes would not affect them. Toddlington Harper went on to say;

 “I think the changes to the subsidy scheme have certainly made life more difficult. Having said that, though they have changed the ROC scheme [Renewable Obligation Certificates, the subsidies being phased out], within the Contracts for Difference [the new subsidy scheme], there is still an opportunity to deliver projects like this for the UK,”

In part of Harpers defence he pointed to a Department of Energy and climate change survey which showed the popularity of solar with the general public. Around 200 people were employed during the construction phase of the project.

Belectric currently have 10 solar farms established in the UK with enough potential to power 40,000 homes per year. They have a further ten smaller projects in the pipeline.

Landmead has a grade three ranking on a scale of 1-5 when it comes to the quality of the soil. It has been argued the land has a history of not draining well and thus is not very effective for growing crops.

Landmead won’t be the largest solar farm in the UK for much longer: a new farm is planned at an old RAF site in Norfolk and will generate 49.9 megawatts. Construction will begin this year.

Landmead Solar Farm

 

 

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One Response to “The UK’s largest solar farm is switched online”

  1. Rachel Scott January 9, 2015 at 8:12 pm #

    Reblogged this on Garden Apothecary.

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