Environmental consultancy ADAS has teamed up with the solar PV expert Enfinity to scope out sites for the development of 50MW of solar parks in southern England and south Wales in 2011.
Over the past six months, the project has identified 12 potential sites in these regions that would be suitable for solar park development, offering landowners a 25-year land lease agreement.
ADAS is scoping out suitable sites for solar power to be installed using a bespoke GIS screening tool. Such sites need to be flat, have good electricity connectivity and minimal visual impact.
Jon Abbatt, principal consultant at ADAS, is leading the project: "We have already started the planning permission process on four of the sites that we have identified, which, after working closely with the relevant planning authorities, we hope to have approved in the first half of 2011. Our plan is to develop 50MW of solar parks next year.”
Solar – new revenue stream for farmers
Abbott says that such solar projects offer farmers, landowners and land managers a new and interesting way of creating a reliable revenue stream, creating emission-free electricity.
“It’s a ‘win, win’ provided they are developed in a sensitive manner at appropriate sites.”
ADAS has also been working with farmers on roof-based PV systems for agricultural buildings, grain stores, poultry sheds and cattle stores that can be converted into sustainable solar hubs and connected to the grid.
“As long as they can be connected to the grid we can help landowners covert their farm buildings,” explains Abbatt.
“Field PV systems are more beneficial as they offer a lot greater return from solar panels because we can spread them across very large areas and we are not constrained to roof space. In this case, all of the fields we are developing are between 25 and 30 acres," he adds.
Enfinity and solar PV
The company’s partner on the project, Enfinity, has installed PV arrays that are producing 200 megawatts of electricity at sites across the world. It also currently has several hundred more megawatts under development.
In 2009, it was announced that Enfinity and SolarMarkt AG was to build solar PV installations for supermarket chain Lidl in Europe. Lidl made an investment in solar systems for the generation of electricity on the buildings of its European subsidiaries in Germany, Belgium, Italy, Spain, France, the Czech Republic and Bulgaria.