The scheme, at Marston near Grantham, Lincolnshire, comprises 19,500 photovoltaic (PV) panels covering an area of 12.2 hectares and will generate 4.5MWp of electricity. This is enough to power 1,200 homes over the course of a year. It was commissioned in July and is now feeding renewable electricity into the National Grid.
The project was undertaken on behalf of Lark Energy, a specialist energy division within the Larkfleet Group of companies, who took the bold decision to press ahead with the project when the Government announced an early review of the Feed-in Tariff, the funding mechanism which supports such projects. The solar farm had to be commissioned and connected to the electricity grid by 31st July 2011 to avoid a 72% cut in funding.
LDA Design’s role included planning consultancy, landscape and visual impact assessment, ecological assessment and mitigation, and negotiation of planning conditions. LDA Design worked with the local planning authority to reduce the timescale of the planning process, preparing and submitting additional information to avoid the need for pre-commencement planning conditions.
Charles Crawford, Director of LDA Design, said: “We are delighted to be involved in the birth of a new sector of renewable energy projects in the UK. Due to the changes in the Feed-in Tariff, very few solar farms will be constructed this year and we are pleased to have played a part in delivering one of the largest. The way the project was delivered so quickly, with widespread public support, demonstrates the potential of solar PV to make a major contribution to reducing the UK’s reliance on fossil fuels.”
Jonathan Selwyn, Managing Director of Lark Energy, commented: “The delivery of the solar farm within a very tight timescale required 100% commitment from a wide team of specialists. LDA Design played a major part in helping us meet the deadline and deliver the project.”