A Scottish council has this week granted planning permission for what would be the country’s largest solar farm, a 20MW project near Urquhart in Morayshire, Northern Scotland.
The solar farm is set to be constructed on a 47-hectare site and boast around 80,000 solar panels, delivering enough clean energy to power thousands of homes. Its size would dwarf Scotland’s current largest solar array, the 13MW farm at Errol Estate in Perthshire.
Its developers, Bristol-based Elgin Energy, insist the farm’s size will not compromise its environmental integrity, with plans in place to maintain existing mature hedgerows and woodland and allow sheep to graze underneath the panels.
Moray Council, which approved the plans this week, said Elgin Energy will have to provide a draft decommissioning plan for the site once its 30-year permission is up, and a Habit Management Plan to the council before construction can begin.
The promise of plentiful clean energy coupled with the council’s tight control on the terms of development prompted Councillor Claire Feaver to declare the project a “win-win”.
“A significant amount of renewable energy will be generated by this solar farm over the next 30 years,” she said in a statement. “The opportunity to continue grazing on the land, together with the Habitat Management Plan, will maintain and enhance the diverse range of species in and around the site. I see this as a win-win.”