Originally published on Sustainnovate.
The biggest solar farm in the UK, a 46 MW solar farm called Landmead, is now connected to the UK’s National Grid in East Hanney. The project can power 14,000 average British homes. The site was previously used for grazing sheep… and it will continue to be used for that, with the addition of some wildflowers. That’s one of the wonderful things about solar farms — they can be combined with agriculture or grazing without being a threat.
Another wonderful thing about solar farms is how quickly they can be built. We recently announced the beginning of construction on this solar farm. In fact, when I saw the story, I thought, “I already covered this… didn’t I?” I actually thought I had written about it last week, but turns out it was almost a full month. Surely construction began a bit before I wrote my story, but not too long before that.
The Landmead solar farm uses solar panels from First Solar, a 2015 Zayed Future Energy Prize finalist. It was jointly developed by First Solar and Belectric, and it is co-owned by the two.
Coming back to the way solar power subtly slides into the landscape, Toddington Harper, chief executive of Belectric, noted: “The wonderful thing about solar energy is, from a picture, it looks like a big change, but most people don’t travel around in helicopters. If you are at ground level you can’t even see the solar farm behind the hedge, because it’s 2.2m high. People driving by wouldn’t even know it’s there.”
As I noted in November: the solar power plant utilizes over 483,000 thin-film solar modules from First Solar, and could power about 25% of nearby Oxford’s ~55,400 homes.
“The project is the fourth to be executed in the United Kingdom (UK) under a First Solar and BELECTRIC joint venture, announced in 2013. With its recently built solar farms in Wiltshire and East Anglia, the JV is expecting to reach a total capacity of 80 MWDC in the UK. Together, the farms generate almost 80 million kWh of clean energy per year, while displacing an estimated 35,000 tons of greenhouse gases each year.”
Image Credit: Belectric
Reprinted with permission.