England isn’t the only place looking to break records with solar over the next year or two. While there are plans to construct the biggest solar farm in the UK down in Kent, Wales has just had a change of mind for a new solar farm in Anglesey.
After being turned down for planning permission earlier in the year, the council has had a change of heart. Following an appeal by local residents, businesses and councillors it seems a 200 acre, 49.9 MW site with over 200,000 solar panels is going to be built after all.
The new site is to developed in Cemaes on farmland near the coast and is expected to deliver power for over 15,000 homes when completed – that’s roughly half the population of Anglesey itself.
Objections were made by the council despite widespread support, with some, particularly from the pollical party Plaid Cymru, saying that they were not convinced of the cost of the project or its potential impact on the farming environment in the area.
In November, planning permission was finally denied but only a month later that decision was reversed completely. This after council members were told they were unlikely to win any appeal and that it could well cost them over £100,000 in legal fees. On the whole, plans for the new solar farm have been broadly welcomed, particularly since the project is expected to bring much needed jobs to the area.
The farm is being run by Countryside Renewables who invested in smaller solar plants around the UK including in Lincolnshire and Essex. They’re also a company with a European focus and one of their biggest projects in recent years has been a large offshore wind farm in the Netherlands. The Prinses Amalia Offshore Wind Farm has a capacity of 120 MW and was one of the first non-subsidised projects in the world.
A consultant for the developers on the Anglesey site commented:
“We are now advancing towards construction, which will happen within six months, and we commit to work in close cooperation with all involved, particularly our close neighbours. It is heartening that political common sense prevailed, against a very robust recommendation of approval by professional Officers, and that Plaid Cymru members eventually supported the application, in line with their national policy on renewable energy.”
The project will hopefully be the first to introduce the latest cutting edge photo voltaic technology and will include energy storage, something that is becoming increasingly important for the industry’s future survival. Anglesey has been home to some great renewable developments in recent times. Off the coast of Holyhead, they’re testing underwater kite style wind turbines and there is also funding for a new £1 billion biomass plant on the island that will bring around 1,700 jobs with it.
With work expected to start on the solar project in Camaes in the next 6 months, just 30 miles down the coast in Kimmel Bay, a 100 acre site has already gone live and is producing enough power form some 5,000 homes. That means North Wales is fast becoming a central focus for renewable innovation and development.
Find out more about solar panels on our main website.