Details of the largest solar farm in the UK have come to light and surprisingly, it is owned by the UK Government. The 69.5MW site, located west of Swindon, has an estimated 278,000 solar panels installed. It has been shrouded in secrecy until now.
It is the first serious install that highlights the UK Government's own commitment towards solar energy. The country has long-awaited signs of the Government's intention to roll out solar panels across government-owned land and buildings, but it is now here.
In July 2014, the Government submitted plans for a 40MW site to be commissioned in Wiltshire, but details emerged from the InterSolar show last week in Munich which revealed the full scale of the Wiltshire-based solar farm. In November 2014, the current size of 69.5MW was approved.
It was commissioned in March 2015, ahead of the FiT drop and it has managed to exceed it's original application by a whopping 29.5MW and there is indication that it can be increased still further to a final capacity of 86MW. Solar installs over 50MW need direct approval from the National Grid before they can be installed.
The UK's largest solar farm is monumental in scale. Exactly how big is a 69.5MW solar farm and what will it do?
- It covers an area the equivalent to 73 football pitches
- Annually it will produce enough energy to make 2,550,000 cups of tea!
- During a 20-year lifetime, it is expected to offset CO2 emissions by around 680,000 tonnes. That's the same weight as 88,400 double decker buses!
- It is predicted to produce enough electricity to power 17,236 homes annually.
While the the Government has installed the UK's largest solar farm to date, it is thought that other >50MW projects have been installed during the first quarter of 2015 and details of these will emerge in coming weeks.
Sadly, the media has driven an idea to the public solar is no longer a viable option due to the drops in the FiT put in place by the Government. however, now that the Government itself has built this solar farm, it may reignite interest in solar power among both British business and homeowners.
Having built the UK's largest solar farm, the UK government is now expected to showcase other solar arrays across the country. All of this is going a long way to helping the Government hit their target of 20GW or renewable energy by 2020.
Posted on June 15, 2015
by Steve Williams filed under