48MW solar farm in Kent wins planning permission by committee vote

A 48MW solar farm in Kent has won planning permission after a decision was deferred by Canterbury City Council to its planning committee.

The planning committee voted seven to three in favour of the 86-hectare development. British Solar Renewables (BSR), the developer behind the application, claims that the solar farm will be able to supply 14,000 local homes.

Owl’s Hatch Solar Farm will be located to the south of Herne Bay, spread across eight fields. BSR confirmed in its planning application that the site will be dual-use, with sheep grazed across the site for the 25-year project lifetime.

Once completed, the site will be one of the largest solar farms in the UK. The UK solar sector has experienced a huge increase in large-scale solar farms after continued cost reductions opened up the possibility of building solar farms under the renewable obligation. However, the government has moved to curtail deployment by scrapping RO support for solar projects over 5MW from April 2015.

In its place the government has introduced its new auction-based contracts for difference (CfDs) scheme. However, many solar industry insiders have expressed serious concerns about the viability of the scheme. Solar Media will be hosting the annual Large-Scale Solar UK conference in Bristol on 28-30 April which will discuss how developers can maintain profitability in a developing market.