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Solar company 35 Degrees won the permission to begin the £4 million construction at the former tin mine site, Wheal Jane.

The farm will cover 5 acres of land and will generate 1.3MW of electricity through 6,000 metre-high photovoltaic panels.

Cornwall Council provided the loan for the construction and thinks that there is a possible further £1 billion investment for the county. The hope is that others will follow the lead and apply for building permission.

Lucy Hunt, manager at Cornwall Development Company, the economic development company for Cornwall Council, said: “We’re seeing the start of a Cornwall solar gold rush.”

While solar energy has yet to make the impact of other renewable energy sources such as wind power, it is seen as having great potential. An average sized domestic solar PV system in the UK will generate 2,125 kWh per year, more than half the typical household.

In the government’s Comprehensive Spending Review the feed-in tariff plans were maintained. This was welcomed by the solar energy industry.

Solarcentury’s executive chairman, Jeremy Leggett, said: “My colleagues and I are delighted that the coalition politicians who understand the potential for UK plc in the unfolding global solar revolution have maintained course with the feed-in tariff.”

Alison Brown

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