Juwi solar plans to construct 10 MW solar park
The German renewable energy giant is eyeing up a plot of land in Lincolnshire as a potential site for a 10 MW solar farm. It has already submitted a planning application to East Lindsey District Council with a view to building the park near Skegness.
Recently the company opened new offices in Birmingham and it believes that the UK solar market presents significant opportunities for medium to large solar projects. The new installation, if approved, will spread over 55 acres and will consist of 875 rows of panels amounting to over 42,000 solar modules overall. Jan Sisson, the UK Managing Director of Juwi explained to the BBC recently that the project could supply electricity to between 1,880 and 3,000 homes and that it could be generating electricity by the end of the year with twenty new jobs being generated from Juwi's current operations in the UK.
"When there was the first big rush for solar power most people were going for high radiation areas such as Cornwall" Richard Seaman, Head of Acquisition at Juwi, explained. "But the Lincolnshire coast also has good radiation. The point with solar is it’s less intrusive, it’s aesthetically more pleasing. Although it’s a vast area, the actual panels are tilted to around 800mm off the ground at the bottom and 2.2-2.5-metres high at the top edge."
The site is situated close to The Hollies wind farm and has been selected because of its southerly aspect and open landscape. However screening will ensure that the site remains relatively unobtrusive. An underground cable will transfer electricity to overhead power lines that are already a feature of the landscape nearby. The land is also grade three agricultural land and therefore not suitable for food production.
The project stands a high chance of being approved, given a recent survey conducted by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) indicating an 83% level of support for renewable energy among the British public with solar power being the most popular form of renewable energy technology. Over half of respondents approached by DECC stated they would be happy to see a large scale solar project in their area.
The UK has seen a surge of large scale solar projects of over 5 MW as applicants take advantage of the government's Renewable Obligation (RO) scheme. Solar energy is one of the technologies supported by Lincolnshire County Council.
"I am supportive of solar in principle, provided the routing of the power to the network is underground and doesn’t involve any additional cabling" explained Colin Davie, Chairman of Lincolnshire County Council's Environmental Scrutiny Committee. "We believe Lincolnshire should press ahead on renewables in the right location and we favour solar over wind any day of the week" he added.
East Lindsey District Council meanwhile has already made its support for renewable energy clear by installing solar PV panels on a number of council buildings with a view to cutting its energy bill by over £1.5 billion over the next 25 years.