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Hive Energy, Wirsol plan to build 350MW solar plant in Kent

EBR Staff Writer Published 10 November 2017

A subsidy-free solar plant of 350MW has been proposed to be built along the North Kent Coast in the UK by Hive Energy in partnership with Germany-based Wirsol Energy.

The partners have formed a joint venture known as SPV Cleve Hill Solar Park for the project, and have plans to install solar panels on a land of 890 acres near Graveney, as per a report in The Guardian.

Given the scale of the project, it will be subject to clearance from the UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

Power generated from the proposed solar project is likely to cover 110,000 homes in the UK, once it is linked to the existing transmission network of the National Grid.

Hive Energy’s Hugh Brennan was quoted by the publication as saying: “The Cleve Hill solar park is a pioneering scheme that aims to optimise the technological developments in solar energy.”

Hive and Wirsol are also planning to install an energy storage system at the solar plant, to help in grid balancing.

However, the solar project is facing opposition from certain environmental groups. One of them is CPRE Kent which, as per BBC, argues that the size of the project along with its close location to environmentally sensitive places makes it highly unsuitable.

CPRE Kent director Hilary Newport was quoted by the publication as saying: "If I was to think of the worst possible place to put a solar farm it would be here.

"We absolutely support the principle of renewable energy, but [the panels] should be on roofs, not trashing landscapes in an astonishingly beautiful part of the Kent marshes.”

The Cleve Hill joint venture plans to address the concerns surrounding the potential environmental impact during the consultation stage, which is slated to begin in December.