Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Cleve Hill solar power plant
Artist concept of Cleve Hill solar park. Credit: Cleve Hill

Clean Power

Largest Solar Power Plant In UK History Gets Final Approval

The largest solar power plant in the UK has been approved for Kent. It will use 880,000 solar panels spread across 364 hectares of farmland.

Three years in the planning, the Cleve Hill Solar Park has gotten final approval from the UK Planning Inspectorate Office. When completed, it will be the largest solar power plant in the country with 880,000 solar panels producing a maximum of 350 MW of electricity — enough to power 91,000 UK homes.

The entire facility, which will include some unspecified battery storage capability, will occupy 364 hectares (900 acres) of farmland in Kent, 96 km southeast of London. That’s equivalent to 600 football pitches, otherwise known as soccer fields in less developed parts of the world. Because its capacity exceeds 50 MW, it was deemed to be a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project, a designation that meant it had to undergo an extensive application including public hearings, according to Engadget.

Cleve Hill solar power plant

Artist’s concept of Cleve Hill solar park. Image credit: Cleve Hill

The Cleve Hill project will be entirely subsidy-free, meaning no taxpayer assistance will be available to the developers, Wirsol Energy and Hive Energy. The developers say the project will help cut UK carbon emissions by 68,000 tons a year while generating £1 million of revenue for the Kent and Swale councils annually.

With all that public scrutiny, it was inevitable some objections would be raised. Helen Whatley, a member of Parliament who represents the area, told The Telegraph the solar power plant amounts to “industrialization” of the countryside. “We’re not talking about a few fields — this would destroy an entire landscape. I want to see us reach net-zero by 2050, but this should not come at any cost.” The Campaign to Protect Rural England has also weighed in, warning the proposed battery storage component could raise the risk of explosions and fire in the area.

The Cleve Hill developers have devoted a lot of time making sure the solar power plant is environmentally appropriate. “The solar park will deliver a 65 percent increase in biodiversity on the intensively farmed site by including open grassland and meadow areas, hedgerows and woodland,” Cleve Hill spokeswoman Emily Marshall tells The Independent.

The project in Kent underscores the challenges involved in siting renewable energy installations. For instance, everyone in Hawai’i knows solar power plants are a perfect fit for that state due to its endless days of sunny weather. Still, finding large tracts of land where the solar panels can be installed requires careful planning and engagement with the community. If a solar park is planned, locals always want it located in the next town. It’s human nature.

Sign up for daily news updates from CleanTechnica on email. Or follow us on Google News!

Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.

Electrifying Industrial Heat for Steel, Cement, & More

I don't like paywalls. You don't like paywalls. Who likes paywalls? Here at CleanTechnica, we implemented a limited paywall for a while, but it always felt wrong — and it was always tough to decide what we should put behind there. In theory, your most exclusive and best content goes behind a paywall. But then fewer people read it! We just don't like paywalls, and so we've decided to ditch ours. Unfortunately, the media business is still a tough, cut-throat business with tiny margins. It's a never-ending Olympic challenge to stay above water or even perhaps — gasp — grow. So ...
If you like what we do and want to support us, please chip in a bit monthly via PayPal or Patreon to help our team do what we do! Thank you!
Written By

Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Florida or anywhere else The Force may lead him. He is proud to be "woke" and doesn't really give a damn why the glass broke. He believes passionately in what Socrates said 3000 years ago: "The secret to change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new."


You May Also Like

Clean Transport

One of the biggest obstacles to EV adoption is the need for home EV charging. The ability to charge electric vehicles at home is...

Clean Power

A major collaboration between universities and energy companies has made vital improvements to offshore wind turbines, which could help them generate more renewable energy...


Nottingham City Council’s electric vehicle fleet is growing quite nicely. At the moment, 51% of the council’s vehicles are powered by electricity, including six...

Clean Transport

UK based Vertellus is working to help the transport industry go green through energy transition and decarbonization strategies. Vertellus partners with commercial vehicle operators...

Copyright © 2023 CleanTechnica. The content produced by this site is for entertainment purposes only. Opinions and comments published on this site may not be sanctioned by and do not necessarily represent the views of CleanTechnica, its owners, sponsors, affiliates, or subsidiaries.