UK agricultural and environmental consultancy, ADAS, has joined forces with international solar photovoltaic company, Enfinity, to begin work scoping sites and installing what will be, once built, the UK’s biggest solar energy parks.

ADAS’ will identify suitable sites for solar power installations by utilising a bespoke GIS screening tool, while ADAS will search for suitable sites in Southern England and South Wales. According to the companies’ criteria, acceptable sites will be flat, have good electricity connectivity and have minimal visual impact. This criterion is not only important for ease of installation, but will also speed up the planning stages.

The project has identified 12 potential sites in the specified regions over the last six months, offering landowners a 25 year land lease agreement that will provide them with a long term revenue stream.

Leader of the project Jon Abbatt, principal consultant at ADAS said, “We have already started the planning permission process on four of the sites that we have indentified, which after working closely with the relevant planning authorities we hope to have approved in the first half of 2011. Our plan is develop 50MW of solar parks next year.

“While ADAS’s primary focus is to identify field based solar opportunities, we have also been working with farmers on roof based PV systems for agricultural buildings. Grain stores, poultry sheds and cattle stores that can be converted into sustainable solar hubs which relative ease. As long as they can be connected to the grid we can help landowners covert their farm buildings.

“Field PV systems are more beneficial as they offer a lot greater return from solar panels because we can spread them across very large areas and we are not constrained to roof space, in this case all of the fields we are developing are between 25 and 30 acres,” concluded Abbatt.