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Article by Neill Barston | 21st June 2018

Residents' Concern Over Solar Farm Plans Near Faversham

A major project to create one of the largest solar farms in the UK is being put forward near Faversham. The venture could provide up to 350MW of power and is being brought forward by Cleve Hill Solar Park Ltd, a joint venture by Hive Energy Ltd and Wirsol Energy Ltd.

As the companies revealed, the project, which sits just to the North of Faversham near Graveney, is being developed without government funding. It would power around 110,000 homes a year, equating to around the number of households in Swale and Canterbury combined.

The scheme has already attracted concerns from locals, fearing added strain on the area’s roads, as well as potentially affecting wildlife species in the vicinity.

Proposals for the scheme will include the latest developments in solar technology. In order to provide the maximum electricity output at Cleve Hill and make the most effective use of the land, Cleve Hill Solar Park Ltd are planning to orientate panels towards the east and west.

Due to its proposed generation capacity being over 50MW, the Cleve Hill Solar Park will be the first solar farm to be classified as a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP). This means Cleve Hill Solar Park Ltd will make an application to the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) for a Development Consent Order (DCO).

Plans for the scheme are currently at an early stage. A preliminary consultation with residents was undertaken back in December, with further public events on the scheme due to take place this spring. The site’s Development Consent Order application is scheduled for later this year.

Hugh Brennan, from Hive Energy Ltd, 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 household.”

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