Biggest UK solar park gets thumbs up

CORNWALL, ENGLAND - The largest planned solar photovoltaic PV park in the UK has been approved by Cornwall Council. The green light for the 5-megawatt MW Lanhydrock solar farm, owned by Cornwall Power, is the second major Cornwall solar project to be approved in recent weeks and cements the region's status as the solar capital of the UK.

The solar farm, which will be up and running this autumn, will provide South West Water with renewable energy to power its Restormel Water Treatment Works, which handles the water supply for Cornwall. The project will cost up to 14.4 million euros US $18.5 million and will be on a 27-acre site.

Just recently, Cornwall Council granted permission for the 1.8-MW Benbole Energy Farm, to be located on a 10-acre site near St. Kew and run by Silicon Vineyard, a joint venture company owned by Renewable Energy Consortium and the University of Exeter College Enterprises. Construction is set to begin and 800 solar panels will be installed and commissioned by April this year.

"The site provides us with an exemplar model project as it typifies the type of development the government wished to promote through the introduction of its feed-in tariff scheme last year," said David Fyffe, the Cornwall Power Chairman. "It's all about giving power back to the community by triggering small residential and community renewable projects via the community benefit trust. We have worked very closely with Cornwall Council's Planning Department and the local community to achieve a solution that benefits everybody."

Cornwall Councillor Julian German, the portfolio holder for Environment, Climate Change and Waste Management, said: "The close proximity of the Restormel Water Treatment Works offers planners and the landowner an overwhelming carbon-reduction opportunity, which could enable South West Water to reduce its carbon footprint and enhance its energy security by consuming the total power output of the solar farm."

At the end of 2010, German solar power company juwi Group announced that it will build up to 60 MW of solar PV farms in the southern UK.


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