Lark Energy reveals plans for 150-acre solar farm in Suffolk

Plans have emerged this week for a 30MW solar farm, intended to be developed on a former RAF airfield in Suffolk. The site, which spans 150-acres, could power the equivalent of 7,000 homes for a full year if permission is granted.

This park is the second 30MW large-scale project announced by developer Lark Energy this year; if permitted both projects will go ahead under the Renewables Obligation Certificates (ROCs) mechanism as opposed to the feed-in tariff, which only supports projects up to 5MW.

Jo Wall, Programme Manager at Lark Energy, said: “The location is well-screened, with a southerly aspect and, being a former airfield, it’s relatively flat, making it ideal for a solar farm. Navigator Land has created an exciting and integrated strategy for the whole site and is passionate about preserving and improving habitats and providing access to the public. Lark Energy shares this vision and hopes that the scheme can help contribute towards Suffolk’s ambition to be the UK’s greenest county.”

The development at RAF Stradishall, Hundon is part of an integrated strategy for the whole 512 acres of the old airfield site. Landowner, Navigator Land LLP, has created an overall plan for the site and is seeking to draw together some of the best features of contemporary rural life including arable farming, cattle grazing, renewable energy, community access, conservation and environmental features.

Charles Ryder, who runs Navigator Land, said: “Our integrated strategy aims to provide a productive landscape generating food and energy, while enhancing wildlife and conservation, giving access to the site for the public and recognising the site’s heritage and history. We are delighted to be working with partners such as Lark Energy and Suffolk Wildlife Trust to ensure that this is the case.”

Project plans include installing the panels over 150 acres of grassland which would still enable sheep to graze. Only about 30 percent of each acre would actually be made up of photovoltaic panels, allowing the natural wildlife and grassland to flourish.

Both Lark Energy and Navigator Land held a public consultation meeting yesterday for local residents and stakeholders. A formal planning application will be submitted later this year.