Business secretary Alok Sharma has today given the go-ahead to Britain’s largest solar energy park on the north Kent coast.
The Cleve Hill park, which is being built by a joint venture of specialist solar firms Hive Energy and Wirsol Energy, will consist of 800,000 panels built on 890 hectares of land in Graveney.
The site will generate 50 megawatts of electricity, which is enough to power more than 90,000 homes.
Due to the size of the plant, the development is designated a nationally significant infrastructure project.
Chris Hewitt, the chief executive of the Solar Trade Association, said: “Today the Government has shown that it recognises the vital contribution solar can make to Britain’s energy mix.
“Solar has a significant role to play in boosting the economy in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.
“With the right policies we can expect to see an 8GW pipeline of solar projects unlocked and rapidly deployed.”
According to government data, the UK currently has 13.5 gigawatts of solar energy capacity installed on the grid.
Drax Electric Insights showed that as of this evening solar power is generating 12.5 per cent of the UK’s electricity.
The go ahead did not meet with approval from everyone, however, with environmental campaign groups branding the decision “ecocide”.
The Planning Inspectorate’s chief executive Sarah Richards said: “Local people, the local authority and other interested parties were able to participate in a 6-month long examination.
“The Examining Authority listened and gave full consideration to local views before making their recommendation.”