Solar Century Holdings Limited. 50 Great Sutton St, London, EC1V 0DF. T. +44(0)20 7549 1000.
Registered in England and Wales No. 3570325.
The South West's first solar farm was connected to the grid in Cornwall today by Solarcentury and UK-based solar developer Lightsource Renewable Energy. On the site of a disused tin mine, the 1.4 MW farm is the biggest in the UK to date. Covering a 7.2acre plot at Wheal Jane, Truro, it is the first of many renewable energy projects planned at the reclaimed mine. The farm's 5,680 solar panels will generate 1,437 MWh of electricity a year, enough to power the equivalent of 430 homes in the area and save over 737 tonnes of CO2 emissions a year. Lightsource Renewable Energy has a
number of additional sites being built across the UK, due to be connected by the end of the month.
Lightsource Renewable Energy Ltd. worked with Solarcentury, the UK's most experienced solar energy company, to deliver the solar farm; the project is funded by Octopus Investments.
Conor McGuigan, Head of Planning, Lightsource Renewable Energy said: "It's fantastic to see our first solar farm in the South West operational. It's been a race against the clock to get it connected to the grid by the end of the month. Cornwall Council, Western Power Distribution, Wheal Jane Group, 35 Degrees, Solarcentury and the local suppliers have all played a significant role in making this happen.
While it's been disappointing that the Government has decided not to support the large scale solar sector going forward, the solar farms developed this summer will play a critical role in the supply of green energy in the UK. We look forward to helping building owners develop solar projects from this point."
Derry Newman, CEO, Solarcentury added: "To see a tin mine diversify into producing 21st Century clean solar energy, provides an optimistic glimpse of where we're now heading for our energy production. Wheal Jane's solar farm demonstrates that solar technology can contribute to our clean energy future, and quickly. Solarcentury designed and constructed this site, powering over 400 homes, in less than two months. Solar is not to be underestimated; it is the fastest growing energy technology in the world, simply because it is clean, reliable and a readily available alternative to fossil fuels."
Julian German, Cornwall Council cabinet member for the Environment, said: "It's great to see the UK's biggest solar farm opening in Cornwall where we are well placed to take advantage of the significant potential of solar power. Wheal Jane solar farm demonstrates how these developments have been sensitively sited, maintaining the balance of our need for clean energy and maintaining our landscape. Despite the Government's change in policy on Feed-in tariffs, we are determined to
ensure that solar energy brings great benefits to businesses and communities throughout Cornwall. Those with roof space for solar should see it as not only as helping to contribute to our clean energy future but a rewarding investment."
For the construction of Wheal Jane solar farm, local contractors were employed to carry out the work, preparing the land, supplying fencing and installing the solar panels. The solar farm is situated at Wheal Jane, a reclaimed mine site, due to be home to the UK's first earth science park that will use renewable energy from solar, wind, hydro, shallow and deep geothermal sources. The site is currently being developed with plans underway for a 60,000sqft business park.
Bernard Ballard, Marketing and Planning Director of the Wheal Jane Group added: "We are thrilled that Wheal Jane is now home to one of the UK's first solar farms. This is another significant step towards our ambition to have a number of renewable technologies operating on the site providing green energy to businesses based here.'
For further information please contact:
Solarcentury: Charlotte Webster 0207 8030148
Click here to go to our image library for a high resolution photo of the project.
Notes to editors:
1. Generation of 1,437MWh based on simulations using local irradiance
levels of 1004 kWh per kWp. The average irradiance levels in the UK are
850kWh/ kWp (Department of Energy and Climate Change). This is the
equivalent electricity consumption of 430 homes, based on average of
3,300kWh consumption per year per home (EST,DECC)
2. C02 emissions savings based on a conversion rate of 0.517 kg of C02
per kWh, using current UK grid energy mix.
3. Following the FIT review on going investment in solar will continue
for projects below 50kWp in size, covering around 400 m2 and below; such
as on agricultural, industrial, school and residential buildings.
Lightsource Renewable Energy Limited is a major British Solar energy
developer and operator with a number of projects currently under
construction throughout the country. Lightsource is UK based with a
growing development team of experienced solar engineers, planners, and
project managers. Founded in 2010, the company has made rapid progress
over the past two years, establishing itself as the pre-eminent player
in the UK Solar PV sector.
Solarcentury is one of Europe's fastest growing and most innovative
solar photovoltaics (PV) companies. It is the UK's most experienced PV
company. The private company was founded by Chairman Jeremy Leggett in
1998. Solarcentury, now over 120 staff, continues to grow rapidly to
meet increasing demand for products and services in the UK and
throughout the EU. The company is led by CEO Derry Newman, ex Managing
Director Sony UK, and based in London, with staff in the UK, France and
Since 1998, Solarcentury has managed the installation of well over 1000
solar PV turnkey projects. Solarcentury has helped over 9,000 homes go
solar through its supply of systems to housebuilders and through its
network of regional associate installers. It is the founding company of
the schools initiative Solar4Schools. In 2008 & 2010, Solarcentury was
named the UK's Fastest Growing Renewable Energy Company by UK's Sunday
Times Tech Track 100. In April 2011 it was awarded a Queens Award for
Enterprise in innovation. www.solarcentury.co.uk