Ten New Solar Farms Planned for UK

21 October 2010

Solar farm, solar panels

Photo: JMLawlor

The Feed-In Tariff - which pays people to generate green electricity - has driven the rise of Solar Farms in the UK. The first one has just been granted planning permission by Cornwall Council. It is a five acre site at Wheal Jane Tin Mine near Truro and is expected to generate up to 1.55 MW of power from 6000 photovoltaic panels which will track the sun as it moves across the sky, enough to power 287 homes.

Enthusiasts for Solar Farms believe that because they are lower to the ground than wind turbines they are less intrusive on the landscape, particularly if they are hidden by hedges, walls, or trees. Ten sites have been identified across Cornwall and this will form part of a £40 million network of solar sites across the Westcountry.

Jon Vidler, project co-ordinator for Benbole Energy Farm (BEF), which is behind the network idea, said if everything goes to plan seven other "silicon vineyards" will be rolled out across Cornwall, with two others on the Isles of Scilly. In total they would generate 20MW of electricity, enough to power 10,000 homes.

Solar farm on a hillside

Because it is comparatively sunny by UK standards, the Westcountry is the premier location for these plants. It is hoped that a factory will be set up to manufacture the panels in Cornwall, as otherwise they will have to be imported.

An even larger £15 million plant is proposed for a site next to Newquay airport. Given that the feed in tariff escaped yesterday's spending review, it is likely that there will be a rush of applications to utilise farmland around the county. Cornwall Council is expecting so many applications that it has allocated six planning officers to deal with the paperwork.


Massive Solar Farms Planned

Solar Farm

Blog by Julian Jackson

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