With constant and radical developments in the solar energy industry making the technology to produce solar energy much more cheaper than other sources of renewable) energy, we are seeing more and more solar farms pop up across the world and in the UK. Supporting the UK’s green energy transition, the cumulative pipeline of the 469 solar farms dotted across the UK has now reached 11.6GW per year.
Solar farms are large scale applications of solar photovoltaic (PV) systems. They provide green, renewable and locally sourced energy to high numbers of people and businesses for many years after their initial construction (around 25 to 30 years). Creating and obtaining energy via solar farming is certainly becoming the preferred option for governments, businesses and interested independent investors.
According to 2020 figures, just under 500 solar farms are now in operation in the UK. In just a five-year period, the solar capacity in the UK increased from 5,488.6 MW in 2014 to an astonishing 13,258 MW in June 2019.
Deege Solar has compiled an info-list on the 5 largest solar farms, also known as solar parks, currently operating in the UK. Read on to find out more!
In at first place is Shotwick Solar Park located in Flintshire, Wales.
- Commissioned in March 2016, Shotwick Solar Park was collaboratively developed by We-Link Energy and Compton group.
- Producing 72.2 MW per year and spread over 250 acres, this solar farm is the largest in the UK.
- This solar farm generates and feeds private infrastructure with power. Including the UK’s largest paper mill, UPM Shotton Paper Mill. Shotwick Solar farm supplies 70% of the paper mills’s energy requirements, saving the business 22,5000 tonnes of CO2 emissions annually.
- Helping companies like UPM Shotton Paper Mill offset around one-third of their annual electricity demand. Shotwick Solar Park is the largest private wire solar park in Europe.
In at second place is MOD Lyneham Solar Farm in Bradenstoke, Wiltshire:
- Situated on a former runway, Lyneham Solar Farm is the first developed with the British Ministry of Defence (MOD).
- Commissioned in March 2015, Lyneham Solar Farm has a capacity of 69.8MW and covers 213.3 acres of land.
- With a network of over 17 kilometres of interconnecting trenches that draw power from over 160,000 solar panels, this solar farm can provide clean power to ten thousand homes as well as a military training college on site.
- AS RAF Lyneham does not house operational aircraft on a day-to-day basis nor is it safeguarded by the MOD, any glint and glare issues associated with solar panels is not relevant in this instance making Lyneham a suitable home for a Green energy project such as this.
In at third place is Owl’s Hatch Solar Park located at Herne Bay, Kent:
- Commissioned in March 2015, this solar farm has a capacity of 51.9MW.
- Occupying 212 acres of land south of Herne Bay, this solar farm is situated across eight fields.
- With rows of panels standing 2.4 metres tall and titled at a 22-degree angle, this solar farm is considered “dual use” as it uses the land to both generate solar energy and be available for agricultural purposes including sheep grazing.
- 14,000 homes are thought to be supplied with power thanks to Owl’s Hatch Solar Farm.
In at fourth place is Wroughton Airfield Solar Park:
- One of the largest ground mounted solar farms in the UK, this project is a joint development effort from Public Power Solutions (PPS) and the Science Museum Group who were seeking a solution that would generate an income enabling them to refurbish the aircraft hangers on the former WWII airfield.
- Initially funded by private investors, Wroughton’s local authorities have also invested into this 165-acre solar farm.
- Completed in March 2016 and also connected to the national grid, this solar farm has a capacity of 50MW – enough to power 12,000 homes on solar energy!
In at fifth place is West Raynham Solar Farm:
- Commissioned in March 2015, this solar farm includes nearly 200,000 ground mounted solar panels. Which are spread over 225 acres of land.
- With a capacity of 49.8MW, this solar farm situated on a disuse airfield near Fakenham and is capable of serving up to 11,000 houses with solar power.
- Large-scale solar energy investors Bluefield Solar purchased the land for this solar farm at a colossal £56.5m.
Have You Got Land For A Solar Farm?
There are hundreds of solar farms that exist in the UK, all with their own unique back stories, investors and power capacities. One thing they do have in common, though, is their ability to generate vital sources of energy that is clean, renewable, reliable and accessible. If you own land in the UK that could be potentially used for a Solar Farm, get in touch! Together, we can make a difference, by powering more of the UK on Solar Energy.