When I wrote about Toyota's 4.1MW solar farm in the UK last year, I initially described it as huge. My editor rightly pointed out that 4.1MW can hardly be described as huge, when other countries are looking at 166MW solar plants, and even 400MW solar plants.
But I am a Brit. And in Britain, 4MW solar plants were huge—until recently, that is.Oddly, however, a lowering of Feed-In Tariff (FIT) subsidies for renewable energy has apparently lead to an increase in size for planned solar power plants, as developers rely on Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROCs), an older model of subsidy that offered more incentives for economies of scale.
Now we hear from Business Green that the UK's largest solar power plant, projected at 32MW, has received planning permission for an old airfield turned race track in Leicestershire:
Once complete, the array will consist of 125,000 solar photovoltaic panels installed on the areas between the runways, delivering a capacity of 35MW. The arrangement of the panels will allow the site to continue to be used as a driving track and by a kite club.
The plant's developer, Lark Energy, says it is setting its sites on other disused or underused industrial parks as sustainable options for siting further large-scale renewable energy installations. Construction, it is said, is aimed to be completed by March of 2013, before a planned cut to ROC subsidies also kicks in.