A green field under a blue sky with white clouds
The future site of the Town Farm Solar Park. Image: British Solar Renewables.

East Suffolk Council has granted planning permission for the Park Farm Solar Park to British Solar Renewables (BSR), the second BSR project it has approved this year.

The Park Farm Solar Park will have a capacity of 21MW at peak, and will be located on a 26.39-hectare site around 1.5km outside of Wickham Market, Suffolk. In January this year, BSR successfully secured planning permission for another similarly-sized solar development in East Suffolk, the Town Farm Solar Park.

Carla Hardaker, development director at BSR said: “These two projects exemplify our commitment to leading the charge towards a greener future. We are proud to pioneer a new era of responsible renewable energy development — one that not only generates clean electricity but also enriches the local ecosystem through ecological enhancements.

“Both these projects are a testament to BSR’s dedication to innovation, sustainability, and community collaboration, and we are excited to make a positive impact in the fight against the climate crisis, together.”

Biodiversity in the spotlight

Both the Town Farm Solar Park and the Park Farm Solar Park have been planned with biodiversity in mind. Construction work at the projects will include the creation of native hedgerows and meadow grassland on their sites, which is expected to bring a 178% net habitat gain for the Town Farm project and a 106% gain for the Park Farm project.

Research into biodiversity on solar farms is on the rise, with Lancaster University recently partnering with renewable energy firm Low Carbon to undertake an innovative new study into the presence of pollinating insects on solar farms.

Many companies are increasingly centring biodiversity in their new and existing solar and battery energy storage system (BESS) developments. One such developer is Queequeg Renewables, who recently partnered with environmental consultancy Biodiverse Consulting to implement improved biodiversity measures across five solar and BESS projects.

BSR has learned first-hand the importance of considering biodiversity in planning applications after being forced to resubmit planning applications for two solar projects in West Oxfordshire and Essex to become more compatible with the local environment.

Solar Power Portal’s publisher Solar Media will host the UK Solar Summit on 4-5 June 2024 in London. The event will explore UK’s new landscape for utility and rooftop solar, looking at the opportunities within a GW+ annual market, and much more. For more information, go to the website.