Solar developer Hive Energy has been given the green light for two new solar projects with a combined capacity of 13MW.

Hive received planning permission for an 8MW solar array located near Catterall, Lancashire and the developer is now expected to start construction this summer before bringing it online in the autumn.

The 16-hectare site is currently designated as low-grade arable land and Hive said it would benefit from the company’s biodiversity and enhancement plan, which is to include the planting of grass and wildflowers and the placing of animal habitats around the site.

Sheep will also be brought to the site to graze underneath the panels and Tim Purbrick, commercial director at Hive Energy said the farm would provide a boost to local wildlife.

“We identify opportunities to enhance the ecological value of the land and implement a range of biodiversity measures that will work in harmony with the solar panels,” he said.

Hive has also received planning permission from Tendring Council for a 5MW solar farm at Green Farm in Manningtree, Essex after scaling down original plans that were almost twice as large.

The revised plans received no objections at a planning meeting last week and the company is to make a £28,000 donation to a local community fund as part of the approval.

The two approvals come a month after Hive revealed it had connected six sites with a combined capacity of 123MW prior to last month’s ROC deadline, including a 49MW solar farm in Southwick, Hampshire.