Holyrood’s Energy Consents Unit (ECU) has given consent for its first solar project – Elgin Energy’s plans for a 50MW plant on a former RAF airfield in Moray.

Approximately 200,000 solar PV modules will be deployed at the airfield, which was decommissioned in the 1970s. Since then it has been used for heavy goods vehicle testing and sheep grazing.

The ECU has calculated the plant will generate enough electricity to meet annual demand of just over 10,000 households in Scotland, saving 17,900 tonnes of CO2 per annum over grid mix.

In its letter to Elgin, the ECU says the proposal is supported by national Scottish policies to promote solar PV development and that any adverse environmental impacts are outweighed by the benefits of renewable energy.

It also cites the commitment in the National Planning Framework 3 to establish Scotland as a leading location for the development of renewable energy technology.

Ronan Kilduff, managing director of Elgin Energy, said the company hoped to begin developing the project in the early 2020s.

The ECU handles projects generating 50MW or greater in Scotland.

Stephanie Conesa, policy manager at Scottish Renewables, said: “With most of Scotland having just enjoyed a long weekend of sunshine, it seems like perfect timing for Elgin Energy’s announcement that it has received planning permission for the largest consented solar PV project in Scotland to date.

“It will surprise many that the electricity generation potential of a solar PV array in Scotland is very similar, if not better than, one in central or northern England or parts of Wales. Scotland really can be a hotspot for this type of green energy.

“Solar power is a low cost, popular and clean alternative to fossil fuel generation and it absolutely must be in the energy mix if Scotland is to meet its 50 per cent renewable target by 2030.”

David Blackman

This article first appeared on edie’s sister title, Utility Week

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