The sites are to see biodiversity enhancements including new hedgerows and wildlife corridors. Image: EDF.

Two of EDF Renewables UK's consented 49.9MW solar PV projects are now at the site preparation and construction phase, having been added to its portfolio last year.

These two projects are the 49.9MW Burwell site in South East Cambridgeshire and the 49.9MW Porth Wen site in Anglesey.

First generation is expected in Q4 2022, with EDF Renewables UK’s head of solar, Ben Fawcett stating: “The sites get plenty of sunshine and are near to a grid connection, making them excellent locations for solar.”

Community benefit funds of £20,000 every year for each project are to be available, with parish and community council involvement to ensure the flexible funding is used to support local priorities, which EDF said could be educational programmes, new kit for sports teams, biodiversity initiatives and much more.

The sites themselves are to see biodiversity improvements, with EDF Renewables UK having plans to implement wildlife corridors, plant new hedgerows and, in the case of Burwell, establish 1.8 hectares of new reedbeds.

EDF is currently working with sustainability consultancy Nature Positive with the intention of exploring the positive impacts of utility-scale solar projects on biodiversity, soil health and farmland management. As of earlier this month, it is looking for partners to undertake ecological research at Longfield Solar Farm, a new PV plant proposed by EDF and co-developer Padero Solar in Essex.

In addition to Burwell and Porth Wen, EDF Renewables has 3GW of solar projects at different stages of development or in planning. In May, it submitted a planning application for a 49.9MW solar farm in Northamptonshire, while in April construction of the 49.9MW Sutton Bridge Solar Farm began.