Hampshire solar farm construction begins

Construction of one of the UK’s largest ground-mounted solar projects has started at an estate in Hampshire.

The 5MW array on the Cadland Estate at Fawley covers 30 acres and will generate enough electricity for 1,000 homes. It features 17,856 Trina 280w polycrystalline solar modules and 165 PowerOne Aurora Trio 27.6kW inverters.

The project is being funded by Anesco Asset Management in partnership with Anesco Limited, with a short-term equity loan from SSE (Scottish & Southern Energy). Work is expected to take eight weeks and the array will be sold for £7.5m on completion, with an expected post-tax yield of 9.5-10% IRR. The site qualifies for a Feed-in Tariff rate of 8.9p/kWh.

The farm will receive annual rent for the land, but will also support the operation and maintenance over 25 years with the grass and hedge-cutting contract and security support from the local gamekeepers.

“Farming is an industry which can greatly benefit from a broad range of renewable technologies. Helping to improve the sustainability of farming, from an energy consumption point of view, is vital for the future of the industry and is something that many operators and landowners are now considering,” Anesco chief executive Adrian Pike said.