Plans unveiled for Britain’s largest solar farm

Plans for the largest solar farm in Britain have been unveiled by developers in Kent.

The £400m project will cover 365ha (900acres) of land at Cleve Hill farm near Graveney.

If Cleve Hill Solar Park Ltd gets the green light it could provide electricity for more than 100,000 homes via a huge substation that has already been constructed on the land to service an existing offshore wind farm.

See also: Offshore wind expansion: What it means for farmers affected

Sited about half a mile from the Kent coast, the substation saw 150,000cu m of earth and rocks excavated and 10,000 trees planted to mask it from public view.

Public consultation

But the solar park venture itself is so large it must first go through a long public consultation and gain the approval of the government’s business, energy and industrial strategy minister, Greg Clark.

Local environmental groups have already voiced concerns that the solar array is too large and a waste of agricultural land.

Speaking to regional news website Kent Online, the Council for the Protection of Rural England (CPRE) said it was concerned about the huge scale of the project.

Kent CPRE branch director Hilary Newport said power for new homes should be provided through individual solar panels, rather than by taking up such large tracts of agricultural land.

However, one of the partners in the project defended the plans.

Hive Energy’s Hugh Brennan told Kent Online that while planning is at the very early stages, the aim is to deliver the first non-subsidised renewables project of this scale.

Mr Brennan urged anyone with an interest in the plans to take part in upcoming consultation events to find out more.