West Lindsey District Council has granted planning permission for a 50MW solar park on the site of a former RAF base in Lincolnshire.

The project at Market Rasen will see 196,000 south-facing solar modules installed across 150 hectares at RAF Faldingworth. When completed, the project is anticipated to share the title of the largest solar farm development in the UK.   

The potential solar farm site is situated on flat brownfield land which is well-screened, making it ideal for PV development according to planning and design consultancy Barton Willmore.

The developer of the site, Lunar Energy, predicts that the 50MW solar farm will generate enough electricity to power over 12,000 homes – mitigating the emission of 500,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide over the project’s lifetime of 30 years.

Commenting on the project, Chris Collett, senior planner at Barton Willmore, said: “This under-utilised former airfield was an ideal site for solar energy because of the topography and limited visual impact. By providing clean energy to more than 10,000 homes it will make a significant contribution to reducing carbon emissions in Lincolnshire.

“We currently have relatively few large photovoltaic operations in the UK. This solar park marks another step towards the UK’s aim of having 15% of all energy generated from renewables by 2020, reducing our greenhouse gas emissions by moving to a low-carbon economy.”

The approval of the 50MW project at RAF Faldingworth reflects a growing trend in the UK market of larger multi-megawatt developments to benefit from economies of scale under the renewable obligation. Industry analysts have predicted that the UK solar industry has installed 700MW of PV during the first quarter of Q1 2014 alone.

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