Solarcentury to extend existing solar farm in Norfolk

Solarcentury is extending the existing 14.8 MWp solar farm at Hardingham in Norfolk with an additional 5.3 MWp solar PV installation. The original solar farm was completed in 2013 by Solarcentury, and advised by property consultants Savills. The extension to the solar farm will be completed at 1.4 ROCs and will provide enough energy to power 1,250 homes.

As a responsible developer, Solarcentury will put in place specific environmental measures to enhance the biodiversity of the site in line with those incorporated in the original solar farm. When the solar panels have been installed, wildflower seeds will be planted in the field margins and between the rows creating a wildflower meadow. A triple staggered hedgerow will be planted to offer additional screening of the site from the road.

Land owner and farmer William Edwards explains, “We were delighted when Solarcentury advised that there was more spare capacity in the grid to allow this extension to be constructed. This second solar farm boosts the amount of renewable energy we can generate. It’s also a great way for us to improve the natural environment in the area for wildlife and flora. The solar farms help diversify our income which gives us financial peace of mind. As with the construction of the first solar farm, working with Solarcentury has been straightforward and any challenges were dealt with speedily and sensibly.

Guy Beesley, Director of Development at Solarcentury commented, “We are pleased to receive approval for extending the existing solar farm, something which could only be achieved by optimising the existing grid connection and designing a site which meets all criteria of the local planning authority.

As with the initial solar farm, the land for the second site will be dual purpose: generating clean solar electricity to feed into the grid for local homes, as well as acting as a nature sanctuary for local wildlife attracted to the wildflowers that will be planted. We will install nesting boxes, and mammal gates so that badgers and other small mammals can move through the site freely.”

David Grindley, director of Savills Energy and Rural team, commented, “With increasingly limited opportunities to connect to the grid as capacity is taken up, it’s important that solar projects stick to deadlines as any delays to progressing a scheme could impact on the ability to secure a grid connection. Savills has a proven track record of working with land owners and communities to take into account the environmental and ecological impact of projects. In this way, you ensure your project has the best chance of receiving consent and, ultimately, generating income.”

The solar farm will be connected to the grid in February 2015.