UK’s largest solar park given green light

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has taken the decision to approve planning permission for Cleve Hill Solar Park, which is set to be the largest solar park ever constructed in the UK.

The development is located approximately 2KM northeast of Faversham and will consist of 350MW solar photovoltaic array and electrical storage and connection infrastructure.

STA chief executive Chris Hewett, said; “Today the Government has shown that it recognises the vital contribution solar can make to Britain’s energy mix. This is a major milestone on the road towards a UK powered by clean, affordable renewables.”

Application for Cleve Hill Solar Park was submitted to the Planning Inspectorate by Cleve Hill Solar Park Limited on 16 November 2018. Following an examination during which the applicant, statutory consultees and interested parties were given the opportunity to provide evidence to the examining authorities, a recommendation was made to the Secretary of State on 28 February 2020.

The Planning Inspectorate’s chief executive, Sarah Richards said;

“The Planning Inspectorate is committed to giving local communities the opportunity of being involved in the examination of projects that may affect them. Local people, the local authority and other interested parties were able to participate in a 6-month long examination. The Examining Authority listened and gave full consideration to local views before making their recommendation.”

There is approximately 13.5GW of solar currently deployed in the UK, of which 99.95% are ‘small-scale’ installations (less than 5MW in size). Provisionally, according to the governments Solar Photovoltaics Deployment report, last updated on 28 May 2020, as of the end of April 2020, there is a total of 13,493 MW installed UK solar capacity across 1,034,993 installations. This is an increase of under 1.5% (195 MW) since April 2019.

Cleve Hill Solar Park is a joint venture formed by two solar industry specialists, Hive Energy Ltd and Wirsol Energy Ltd. Cleve Hill Solar Park, when built, is said to provide enough affordable and clean electricity to power over 91,000 homes, with the 350MW solar PV array.

Chris Hewett commented;

“Solar has a significant role to play in boosting the economy in the wake of the coronavirus crisis. With the right policies we can expect to see an 8GW pipeline of solar projects unlocked and rapidly deployed, swiftly creating a wealth of skilled jobs and setting us on the path towards a green recovery.”

As renewable solutions become more widely used throughout the UK, the more demand there will be for installers of renewable technologies for both large installations and for smaller, domestic solutions.