The UK's first solar farm could be operational in two months after it received planning permission from Cornwall Council.
Slough-based 35 Degrees will build the 1.5 megawatt peak capacity farm at the former Wheal Jane tin mine, near Truro.
It received permission last Friday (17 September) just 13 weeks after the application was made – in spite of this being the first large-scale application in the UK.
However, the planning consent does contain conditions requiring 35 Degrees to submit to the council numerous reports prior to commencing development. These include one assessing potential impacts of "light glint/glare/reflectivity arising from the development" and measures for its mitigation.
The plant would significantly increase the UK's solar PV capacity. There was just 32MW operational in 2009.
The development, which will consist of some 5,760 panels standing in frames two metres above the ground, will cost £4m.
35 Degrees was unavailable to comment on whether it had secured finance for the project. However, the plant would be expected to earn £462,000 a year through the government's feed-in tariff scheme (FITs) as well as money from electricity sales.
Cornwall is expected to experience a boom in solar parks over the next few years due to the advent of FITs (ENDS Report, July 2010).
Solar farms are a common sight in Germany and the US. The world's largest solar PV project – a 1 gigawatt peak capacity farm in the California desert being developed by German firm Solar Millennium AG – received consent from the California Energy Commission last week (16 September).
Cornwall Council has received one other planning application for a park – a 2MW facility at Benbole Farm near St Kew – and has also received 26 scoping requests for 5MW projects.