350MW Clive Hill Solar Park in Kent to be built without government subsidies

Hive Energy and Wirsol Energy have revealed plans to build the UK’s biggest solar farm near Faversham on the north coast of Kent.

The 350MW Clive Hill Solar Park will generate enough power to meet the needs of roughly 110,000 homes and will be built without any government subsidies.

The proposals feature co-located batteries which will be used to provide balancing services to the power grid.

Hive Energy managing director Hugh Brennan said: “The Cleve Hill Solar Park is a pioneering scheme that aims to optimise the technological developments in solar energy.

“Our ambition is to deliver the first non-subsidised renewables project of this scale, delivering low cost, clean, home-grown energy to power UK households”.

As its generating capacity exceeds 50MW, the solar farm will be the first in the UK to be classified as a nationally significant infrastructure project. The developers will therefore need to apply to the secretary of state for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) for a development consent order (DCO).

A community consultation will begin later this month and a series of consultation events are due be held at the start of December. A second phase of consultation will take place in early 2018, with the submission of a DCO application scheduled for later in the year.

The developers say the solar panels will be orientated towards the east and west to maximise power output and make most effective use of the land. They are also likely to be mounted at a shallower angle than at other solar farms in the UK to improve the consistency of generation throughout the day.

In September, the UK’s first subsidy-free solar project was opened by climate change minister Claire Perry near Flitwick in Bedfordshire.