- The UK government has given development consent order to the 350 MW Mallard Pass Solar Farm
- Proposed by Canadian Solar and Windel Energy, it is to be located on agricultural land near Essendine
- The project is expected to generate close to 350,000 MWh annually on completion
A 350 MW solar power project in the UK, proposed by Canadian Solar and Windel Energy, has secured the development consent order (DCO) from the National Infrastructure Directorate and is now open for public consultation.
Interested stakeholders can now register themselves on the National Infrastructure Planning (PINS) website and submit their comments on the Mallard Pass Solar Farm till March 2, 2023.
Windel and Canadian Solar have partnered for the co-development of 1.4 GW solar projects in the UK, with the former delivering early-stage projects under development through to ready-to-build (RTB) stage and the latter providing funding, and procurement of power purchase agreements (PPA) (see Canadian Solar Gets Partner For 1.4 GW Solar In UK).
The Mallard Pass Solar Farm is proposed to be free of government subsidies and located on agricultural land near Essendine, partly situated in South Kesteven, Lincolnshire and partly in Rutland. Power generated is estimated to be close to 350,000 MWh annually which will be fed into the grid and will be enough to power the equivalent of 92,000 UK households.
According to the project promoters, the solar park is likely to generate low-cost electricity, strengthen reliability of the national grid, and help the country reach its climate change targets. It will have hedgerows and tree belts within the proposed buffers.
“The area for solar development has decreased from approximately 570 hectares at Stage One to approximately 463 hectares. Around 420 hectares of the site area will be for ecological mitigation and enhancement or retained as woodlands, hedgerows and agricultural land,” stated the project website. It adds that field identified as consisting entirely of grade 2 agricultural land will not be used for solar panels.
However, the solar farm has been facing opposition from some quarters including from Rutland MP Alicia Kearns who criticizes the project for using ‘panels built with Uyghur blood labor’ and harming the local biodiversity, natural landscape and using agricultural land.
Recently the UK solar market was relieved of its anxiety when Prime Minister Rishi Sunak headed administration clarified that the government will not impose restrictions on the use of 3b farmland for solar farms, but rather opt for a balanced approached (see UK Solar Breathes A Sigh Of Relief).