A solar farm in Longfield, near Terling in Essex has been given the green light and has been approved to be built by the UK Government.

The solar farm is set to be the largest in the UK and once operational should supply between 60,000 to 100,000 homes with renewable electricity annually.

The plans for the solar farm were submitted as part of a joint venture between EDF Renewables and Padero Solar. Having been approved the project has now been declared a ‘Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project’.

The application itself requires the solar farm to be 939 acres, that can produce and have a generating capacity of 500MW, the farm will also have battery storage to store excess energy for later use, or when solar radiation is low.

‘Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project’

Grant Shapps, the UK’s Secretary of State for the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero, claims that the farm will “deliver cheaper energy for consumers and businesses”, whilst the UK “help(s) ensure we fully harness the power of the sun and boost our energy security”.

There has been opposition to the solar farm, as campaigners have stated that there could be damage to habitats and biodiversity could be lost.

However, David Wagstaff, the UK’s Head of Energy Planning and Cyber Policy, has claimed that the UK needs more renewable projects like this one as there is an “urgent need for additional electricity generating capacity” and renewable energy projects “make a meaningful contribution to the UK’s transition to low carbon energy generation”.

…target of decarbonising the power sector…

The approval of these projects may become more common in the future as the UK Government aims to reach is target of decarbonising the power sector and increasing the amount of solar energy generated fivefold by 2035. Hoping to generate 70GW of power that will supply 20 million homes with renewably sourced electricity.

There were fears that the government weren’t on track for this target, however, application approvals like this one are a step in the right direction.

Solar power use is also set to increase in the commercial sector as the UK Government’s new Solar Taskforce has identified other opportunities for solar installations, including in car parks, offices, schools, and warehouses.