Awarded to a large-scale ground mounted solar farm whose commercial viability, yield and ROI is matched by its commitment to sustainable development.
The winning farm should demonstrate excellence in site selection, minimal visual impact, system design, on-site generation and yield as well as ROI, community engagement, biodiversity and overall project management.
As large-scale solar developments in the UK step under the spotlight further, the shortlisted projects show how solar farms can be developed to not only have a positive impact on the environment but also the local community.
Chittering Solar Farm
Lightsource Renewable Energy, Solarcentury and Octopus Investments together constructed Chittering Solar Farm for AmeyCespa Waste Recycling in Cambridgeshire. The energy produced by the 5MW capacity PV plant supplies electricity to the waste management company, 3km away, under a 25 year Power Purchase Agreement. The installation's 20,000 solar panels power over 70% of AmeyCespa's facilities with minimal excess energy fed back into the national grid.
National Trust in Wales, Prescient Power
The National Trust appointed Prescient Power to build six solar arrays totalling over 247kW, including an installation at a farm in Hafod Y Bwych, which since construction has provided around 12% of the National Trust in Wales' energy requirements.
With other installations including low visibility ground mounted panels in the visitor car park at Penrhyn Castle, the National Trust and Prescient Power had to ensure the unique challenges of working in the heritage sector were met. The overall carbon footprint of the National Trust has been reduced by 120 tonnes a year by the arrays, which also provide around £77,000 a year in fundraising for conservation work.
Wilmingham Solar Park
Wilmingham Solar Park, the largest standalone PV park on the Isle of Wight, has a total installed capacity of just over 7MW. Developed by Inazin Power, the plant was originally to be 5MW in capacity but due to legislative changes has been revised upward to 7MW in order to be financially viable under the double ROC tariff.
The cost-effective park is well integrated into the landscape, screened from all sides by trees and is not overlooked by properties. Commissioned in March 2013, by the end of June the park had already produced 2,800MWh.
As part of the company's long term business strategy, Lark Energy decided to focus on ROCs following the feed-in tariff cuts and selected this site in Wymeswold, near Loughborough, to build a large-scale solar farm.
The project, on a former World War II airfield, received planning consent in November 2012. Construction was completed in just seven weeks despite a difficult directional drill to fit a cable route across the River Soar. The 34MW plant was connected and commissioned before changes in ROCs took place in March this year and features 130,000 solar panels.
Recom, sponsors of the ‘Most successful large-scale ground mount solar site’, will be exhibiting at stand A10 at Solar Energy UK.