Plans submitted for huge solar park near Louth

Plans have been submitted for a large-scale solar power plant, to be located near Louth, which could be the largest solar project submitted so far in the UK. The huge installation of solar panels is to be built at Fen Farm, Conisholme, on land next to the Conisholme 20-turbine wind farm.

The planning application has been entered by energy company Ecotricity, which has also applied for the installation of a further five wind turbines on the site. The company plans to install 1MW of solar power, which is enough to power a total of 500 UK homes.

Solar panels will be fitted in 59 rows over the 4.7 acre site and will be strategically placed in a south-facing position in order to capture the maximum amount of sunlight.

The solar plant now awaits approval from planners at East Lindsey District Council, however if they give the go-ahead, the park could be completely constructed in just 15 weeks.

Spokesman Mike Cheshire said, "In winter, when there is less sun, there is typically more wind and vice versa.

"Sun parks are a common sight in other countries, such as Germany, which already has more than 300, with many of them at similar latitude to here in the UK.

"The Fen Farm sun park is the first of a number planned by Ecotricity around the UK.

"If the sun park is approved, it will be one of the first combined wind and sun energy parks in the world."

By installing the solar panels on such a large scale, the energy payback of the proposed sun park is predicted to be just two years. Under the UK’s feed-in tariff scheme, the plant will receive 29.3 pence per kilowatt hour of energy it produces; this payment will be received over a period of 25 years.

A spokesperson from East Lindsey District Council said, "This is now a valid planning application and consultations will be carried out shortly with local people.” Ecotricity is confident the project will go ahead, as unlike wind turbines, the panels will not be visible from a distance.