Scotland’s largest solar power farm at Errol has been formally opened by Paul Wheelhouse (pictured, right) Scottish Energy Minister, with (left) Chris Kopinak of Canadian Solar and Thomas MacMillan of Savills.
The 13-MW parc, which comprises 55,000 solar panels, been developed by Bristol-based Elgin Energy on 70 acres of land and will provide power for more than 3,500 homes.
Elgin Energy secured planning consent for the scheme, and was responsible for designing the scheme and grid connection. Canadian Solar built out the solar farm and are operating the project.
Thomas MacMillan, Savills’ Energy Director commented: “We are delighted to see this project come to fruition with power now being generated. It has been four years 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 added: “This announcement came at a crucial time for Errol, and it was instrumental in bringing this project to fruition.”
Wheelhouse said: “This very substantial and impressive project is proof that large scale solar photovoltaic systems work well on the east coast of Scotland and I am also greatly encouraged that a variety of organisations are continuing to source solar sites across the country, with a view to developing financially viable schemes.
“The Scottish Government is developing a new, overarching Scottish Energy Strategy which means developing a ‘whole systems approach’ considering Scotland’s energy supply and consumption as equal priorities, building a genuinely integrated approach to power, transport and heat, and solar will play an important role within the energy mix.”