• Pegasus Group in the UK has helped Voltalia UK to secure planning approval for its solar and storage project
  • Dorset Council gave its consent for the 40 MW solar power plant plant to be located near Blandford Forum in South Farm
  • The ground mounted PV project will be developed without subsidies and feed power to the grid for 35 years

The Dorset Council in the UK has given its planning consent for a subsidy-free 40 MW solar power plant along with battery storage capacity to be set up near Blandford Forum by local presence of French renewable energy company Voltalia. UK based consultancy Pegasus Group secured the council approval on behalf of Voltalia, which it announced on its Twitter handle.

Voltalia UK will set up the ground mounted solar PV array with batteries to generate grid connected clean power for around 10,605 homes annually for a period of 35 years. Post that, it may either be decommissioned or apply for further planning consent.

Pegasus says the project was well received by the local parish council and the application was also actively supported by the National Farmers Union (NFU). It will help generate renewable and low carbon electricity at a local level for Dorset where the council declared Climate Emergency in May 2019.

The South Farm project will not rely on customer subsidies to deliver clean electricity which makes an important step in the next generation of clean energy projects of this type,” said Simon Holt from Voltalia. “As we move forwards into the implementation phase this year, we will be looking for local partners in Dorset to work with us to deliver this scheme and other UK projects.”

The project will allow livestock to continue to graze on the land even under the panels and the company has pledged to manage hedgerows and field margins to encourage biodiversity and wildlife habitat here. Pegasus said the NFU said the project will help deliver viable and profitable farming to the area. 

With government support not actively forthcoming and continued decline in costs for solar, a number of ‘subsidy-free’ solar projects went online in the UK recently. In December 2019, NextEnergy Solar Fund commissioned the 50 MW Staughton Solar Farm calling it the country’s ‘largest’ subsidy-free PV facility (see UK’s ‘Largest’ Subsidy-Free Solar Plant Online). It was followed by Gridserve completing the ‘most advanced’ subsidy-free solar farm in the UK with bifacial panels and energy storage near Easingwold in York with 34.7 MW solar and 27 MW battery storage system (see UK’s ‘Most Advanced’ Solar PV Farm Completed).