Sian Crampsie

Hive Energy and Wirsol have announced plans to build a 350 MW solar farm in south-east England.

The two companies have created a joint venture to build the Cleve Hill solar farm on the coast of north Kent on low-grade agricultural land.

The proposed project would require consent from the government because of its size, and would include energy storage capacity to enable the provision of balancing services to the grid.

Hive Energy and Wirsol are also proposing to install the solar panels in an east-west fashion, as opposed to a normal south-facing layout, in order to maximise electricity production.

Cleve Hill solar farm is likely to be built without the support of a contract for difference (CFD), as there appears to be little prospect of the UK government opening CFD auctions up to solar energy projects. The Planning Inspectorate’s website indicates that an application for the project will be made in late 2018.

The solar farm would be the first in the UK to be assigned Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project status.