Construction begins on Scotland’s largest solar farm

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Construction has begun on Scotland’s largest solar farm on the Errol Estate in Tayside.

The 14MW scheme will be constructed on the 70 acres of land. It is anticipated that the solar farm will be operational by March and will ultimately provide power for over 3,500 homes.

Errol estate was one of the first locations in Scotland to be identified as a potential solar farm site, with the land being promoted for development by Savills Smiths Gore in 2011.

Recent cuts by Westminster have brought uncertainty to the Solar PV sector, just as it was beginning to gain momentum in Scotland. However, according to Savills, this project is proof that large scale solar PV systems work well on the east coast of Scotland. Savills, and developers such as Elgin Energy, the renewables company behind the Errol scheme, are continuing to source solar sites across Scotland, with a view to developing schemes that are financially viable without subsidy support.

Savills Energy Director Thomas MacMillan commented: “We are delighted to see this project come to fruition; it has been four year in the making and proves that large-scale solar in Scotland continues to be commercially viable. Solar technology has a far greater role to play in Scotland’s energy mix than many people might realise. Due to reducing installation costs, and a climate of support from Scottish Government, we are continuing to see an appetite from developers to take forward new development sites, even with reducing subsidy support from the Westminster government.”

According to Savills Energy, solar panel installation costs have reduced by approximately 50% over the last three years and the wholesale price of electricity is anticipated to increase in the longer term even though we are seeing a short term dip at the moment.

The Scottish Government announced it will retain a grandfathering guarantee for key policies supporting investment in solar farms, despite Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) proposals to end the protection in England and Wales. Macmillan said: “This announcement came at a crucial time for Errol, and it was instrumental in bringing this project to fruition.”

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