Britain is set to build its largest PV plant – with 125,000 PV panels worth $55 million – at an old military airfield.
The airfield in Leicestershire, called Wymeswold, got the go ahead from the local council, with project planning handed to Lark Energy, a unit of the homebuilder Larkfleet Ltd.
The company began construction of the plant at the end of November, and has plans to complete it before April when subsidies are reduced for large-scale solar projects. Once finished, the 32 MW solar plant will have 125,000 solar panels installed between the runways of the airfield’s 150 acres of land.
The solar plant’s development is a clear indication that the dropping costs of solar panels have led developers to work on utility-scale too large to qualify for the most profitable subsidies in Britain.
The project will be financed by Hazel Capital and will cover the equivalent of 87 football fields, with six times more capacity than any UK solar plant currently in operation.
“We are delighted to be involved in this large, first-of-its-kind project in the UK,” said Ben Guest, managing partner of Hazel Capital.
“We believe that larger industrial sites make great locations for solar projects going forward in the UK,” he added.
This facility is large for the UK, but it is still less than half the size of the largest solar plants in Germany and Italy—two of the biggest solar markets in Europe. The government assures that above market rates are given for solar energy plants that are less than 5 MW in capacity, a limit meant to lessen the cost to consumers of power from utility-scale plants.