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Urquhart solar farm approved

Words: Laura Edgar
Solar panels / Shutterstock

Moray Council has granted planning permission for Elgin Energy’s proposals for 80,000 solar panels near Urquhart.

The plans for the 47-hectare site also include a substation, 20 invertor stations, a CCTV camera system and a two-and-a-half metre high deer fence.

The cabling will be underground, so sheep will be able graze around the panels, while trees hedges and woodland will not be altered or removed. Additional planting features in the proposals.

Permission for the solar farm is valid for 30 years from the first time energy is exported from the site. Once the permission has expired, the developer has one year to decommission the works and restore the site to a condition agreed with the council.

Conditions attached to the permission include the submission of regular reports to the council on the energy generated by the solar farm. Before work begins, the council has to improve the make and model of the solar panels to be used, as well as a draft decommissioning and restoration plan. A Habit Management Plan also needs approving.

Claire Feaver, chair of Moray Council’s planning & regulatory services committee, said: “A significant amount of renewable energy will be generated by this solar farm over the next 30 years.

“The opportunity to continue grazing on the land, together with the Habitat Management Plan, will maintain and enhance the diverse range of species in and around the site. I see this as a win-win.”

Image credit | Shutterstock