Exclusive: 48MW Eveley Farm solar park given long-awaited green light

A giant 48MW solar farm in Test Valley, Hampshire, has been given final approval by secretary of state for communities and local government Greg Clark.

The Eveley Farm solar park was granted final approval on 27 July and will now be taken forward by new developers PS Renewables.

A spokesperson for PS Renewables declined to comment on specific details of the project but told Solar Power Portal that Eveley was still at the early stages of development, adding that it was an “exciting” project to be working on.

German developer Kronos Solar had been behind the project since 2013, submitting plans for a 49MW solar farm that were swiftly rejected by Test Valley borough council for their potential to have an “unacceptable impact” on the landscape.

Kronos appealed the decision but submitted revised plans in the meantime, and the council looked set to approve the renewed plans at a planning control meeting in early May.

However, the project was once again set back by the then communities and local government secretary Eric Pickles placing a holding direction over them, forbidding the council from acting until he had the opportunity to review them.

Pickles was subsequently replaced at DCLG by Greg Clark in a post-election cabinet reshuffle, and the project was cleared for approval last week.

At 48MW, Eveley Solar Farm would be one of the largest projects in the country if it were to go ahead, but will be some way off the UK’s largest operational solar farm which remains Defence Infrastructure Organisation’s 69.5MW installation at DTTC Lyneham which was completed in March 2015.

Commenting on the latest developments at the Eveley site, head of market intelligence at Solar Media, Finlay Colville, offered the following additional information: “Eveley represented one of the most sought after large-scale solar farms in the UK. In fact, the approval last week now means that there are potentially six solar farms at the 45-50MW level that could be built before 31 March 2016, qualifying for 1.3ROCs through the May 2014 grace-compliancy conditions.

“In total, Solar Media is now tracking 73 sites that could be built between now and 31 March 2016, under 2014 grace compliancy. According to the latest release of Solar Media’s Report 3 – Opportunity Pipeline, six of the 73 sites are currently under construction, 46 are approved and awaiting construction, and a further 21 are at the appeal stage awaiting an outcome.

“Just a couple of weeks ago, ground-breaking started on one of the other 2014 grace-compliant projects at the 45-50MW level, a site that Solar Media understands will represent the largest delivery by some margin for the new module supplier selected by the EPC.

“Solar Media understands that PS Renewables has previously taken over site ownership of four other solar farms in the UK, originally developed by Kronos. If constructed, Eveley would take the Kronos/PS Renewables combination of capacity built in the UK to well over 100MW.”

Solar Media maintains a full list of solar farm opportunities, updated daily by the in-house research team, and released in Excel format every two weeks. More information on accessing this database can be found here.