The Macallan Estate (above) will incorporate solar to decarbonise is distillery process. Image: EDF Renewables UK.
The Macallan Estate (above) will incorporate solar to decarbonise its distillery process. Image: EDF Renewables UK.

Energy company EDF Renewables UK has been granted the green light to develop a 4MW solar farm to decarbonise the production of The Macallan’s single malt Scotch whisky in Craigellachie.

Located at The Macallan Estate in north-east Scotland, the distillery company alongside EDF Renewables will integrate ground-mounted solar panels to deliver up to 50% of the daytime electricity needs at peak output. In doing so, this could provide 30% of the site’s yearly electricity demand.

A key aspect of the project is biodiversity and local community engagement – aspects of solar projects which regular readers of Solar Power Portal will be aware of across a number of different schemes.

For this particular scheme, the two companies have been working closely with local communities surrounding the development to keep them informed about the project. The firms did not disclose what, if any, community benefits will be included.

Rachel Walters, operations director at The Macallan, said: “The introduction of solar panels at The Macallan Estate is the latest initiative designed to help us build a more sustainable future, complementing the distillery’s current biomass set up and will work in tandem with other projects to accelerate our net zero targets.”

EDF Renewables UK continues to scale its solar portfolio

This project becomes the latest to be added to EDF Renewables’ UK portfolio but is somewhat unique in that it is the company’s “first commercial and industrial solar project of its kind it has developed in Scotland”, it said.

Earlier this month, the firm was granted permission to construct a 49.9MW solar farm on Tye Lane in Suffolk by Mid Suffolk District Council’s planning committee. The developer confirmed that this solar farm would be connected to the UK electricity grid via the Bramford substation, located south of the site across arable fields.

EDF Renewables UK is also working on two different national significant infrastructure projects (NSIPs) located in Essex (350MW) and Buckinghamshire (500MW).

The Essex-based project, dubbed Longfield Solar Farm, is being explored as part of a partnership with PS Renewables, and received planning consent in June 2023. This marked EDF’s first >50MW project in the UK.

The Buckinghamshire project entered public consultation in late September with the firm seeking feedback on its proposed layout designs as well as the potential to use part of the site to host recreational activities alongside “landscape and ecological enhancements”.