17 August 2017

The sun shines brightly for Elgin Energy as planning permission is granted

Elgin Energy Errol Perthshire

Moray Council has granted Elgin Energy planning permission for a 20MW project near Urquhart, which could see about 80,000 solar panels installed. The farm will be constructed on the 47 hectare Speyslaw site the equivalent of about 40 football pitches.

The largest Scottish solar farm is currently a 13MW project at Errol Estate in Perthshire, which went live in May last year. (above)

All cabling at the site spread over three fields at the Innes Estate will be underground, allowing sheep to graze around the panels. A habitat management plan must also be approved by the council before works can begin.

In a statement, Elgin Energy said: "Existing field boundaries will not be disturbed and mature hedgerows will provide generous screening for the site. The land will remain in agricultural use in the form of sheep grazing while being used for the dual purpose of generating low-carbon renewable energy."

Councillor Claire Feaver, chairwoman of Moray Council's Planning and Regulatory Services Committee, said: "A significant amount of renewable energy will be generated by this solar farm over the next 30 years.

Scottish Renewables welcomed news that the Speyslaw project had been given the go-ahead. Policy manager Stephanie Clark said: "Large-scale solar has played a part in Scotland since 2005 and we are now beginning to see more applications for commercial projects coming forward.

"North east Scotland's clear skies and longer daylight hours mean the area is attractive to developers.

Elgin Energy, which has already developed 250MW of solar across 24 projects in the UK and Ireland, is planning an even bigger farm in Moray. It is seeking planning permission for a 50MW project at the former RAF Milltown airfield, a few miles north east of Elgin. A decision on that application is not expected until early next year.