Ecotricity has secured planning permission to add solar panels to two of its existing wind farms and increase the capacity at a third, as the company looks to increase its co-located renewable energy projects.

The new ‘sun parks’ in Bulkworthy in Devon, and Dalby in Leicestershire, will join with existing wind farms and use their grid connections to increase the number of UK hybrid energy parks in Britain.

The company has also gained permission to extend its first hybrid energy park at Fen Farm in Lincolnshire, by adding an additional 5MW of solar capacity to the 16MW wind site.

Dale Vince, founder of Ecotricity, said: “Hybrid energy parks like this are the future of energy in Britain. The combination of the wind and the sun makes for a more consistent energy supply – and the potential for Britain’s energy independence is huge.”

All three projects will see 18,000 solar panels installed with a 5MW capacity, powering over 1,000 homes and each saving nearly 2,000 tonnes of CO2 per year. In addition, Ecotricity plans to increase biodiversity at each site and in the surrounding area.

The planning approvals are the latest step forward for the hybrid projects, which Ecotricity announced in October 2015.

Despite cuts to support for both solar and wind generation, and increased moves towards more centralised energy sources, the company remains committed to its plans and has criticised the government for its lack of support for these kinds of projects.

“Wind and solar made up around 13% of the UK’s entire electricity generation last year – while all renewables together contributed 25% – but we need to be doing more,” Vince added.

“The current government has cut support for both the wind and solar industries, yet has promised to give nuclear a subsidy at twice the market price for 35 years and has increased support for the oil and gas industries – it’s a government going backwards on climate change.”

Vince has said previously that the government has “rigged the market in favour of fossil fuels” through “stealth subsidies” for more polluting sources of energy and has called for a level playing field for renewables.

Vince added that Ecotricity is approaching 100MW of generation capacity from its wind and solar portfolio, and will be adding Green Gas Mills next year, utilising grass to make the clean fuel.

A number of existing wind projects are being co-located with solar following a series of announcements by renewable energy developers. Benu Energy completed a 1.8MWp solar addition to its wind site in Avonside in February, while Vattenfall is testing the potential of hybrid sites with its 4.99MW Parc Cynog solar farm located in the shadow of 11 wind turbines.

Renewables developer Gaelectric recently won planning permission for a 5MW solar farm near Pomeroy, County Tyrone, which is to share a grid connection with the firm’s Inishative Wind Farm.