Forest Heath District Council is currently considering a planning application submitted by Switch2Renewables to turn 15 hectares of agricultural land into a 7.5MW solar power plant.

The renewable company is proposing the installation of almost 22,000 solar modules across Bay Farm in Barton Mills. Tim Dobson, Switch2Renewables Director, told the Newmarket Journal that: “The scheme will benefit everyone from Joe Public to the farmer who owns the land.”

He added: “The applicant is a very green farmer and he wants to use his property to generate income from different sources.

“We would install high-spec solar panels which would be hardly noticeable by the public. People tend to be concerned about wind farms because they can be seen, but this is a very sweet system which doesn’t stand out and scream at people.”

The company is hoping to receive a decision regarding the application before Christmas and estimates that construction will take around a week per 1.25MW.

As the proposed solar farm is greater than 5MW it will only be eligible for the Renewable Obligation (RO). Recently, the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) delayed a decision on the RO banding of solar PV in favour of a renewed consultation. The decision means that solar will continue to receive 2ROCs until April 2013. 

Those in the solar industry wishing to learn more about the fate of large-scale solar under the RO can attend this year’s upcoming Solar Power UK, where DECC’s Head of the feed-in tariff, Alasdair Grainger, will be speaking about Government’s plans for the future of both the RO and FiT schemes. The full list of industry speakers for Solar Power UK's seminar series can be viewed here.