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Large-Scale Photovoltaic Installation to be the Last?

by 5m Editor
3 May 2011, at 8:26am

UK - A Herefordshire poultry farm is to benefit from power generated by the country's largest solar photovoltaic roof but the latest government announcement of an end to subsidies for such schemes may mean this as the last in the UK.

As the UK's largest solar photovoltaic roof is installed on a Herefordshire farm, the NFU has noted that it could be the last large-scale system to benefit from a government Feed-in Tariff (FIT), which is due to be dramatically cut in August this year.

Southern Solar flicked the switch on the project on 29 April.

The 2,000 square-metre array, on the roof of a farm building in the west of rural Herefordshire, stands at 300kW; 100KW larger than the installation owned by Glastonbury festival founder, Michael Eavis.

It will provide Herefordshire chicken farmer and NFU member, Roger Bowen, with clean electricity that will be used on-site for lighting, powering machinery and to help with the electrical needs of the heating and ventilation systems.

About 50 per cent of the farm's needs will be met by solar PV and any electricity that is not used on site will be sold back to the grid, providing homes with green electricity.

But despite the benefits, the installation could be one of the last of its type. Last month, the coalition government announced that all large-scale installations (50KW+) will have their subsidies cut. The level of the reductions means that many farmers and investors will find that the figures no longer stack up.

NFU Chief Renewable Energy Adviser, Dr Jonathan Scurlock, said: "This scale of this project demonstrates that farmers and growers can make a substantial contribution to solar electricity from large rooftops as well as smaller installations.

"It is absurd that the government should now be proposing to clip the wings of a soaring solar sector. This is hardly the way to reward the success and entrepreneurship shown by NFU members as they diversify into renewable energy of all kinds."