After undertaking extensive pre-application consultation and rigorous environmental studies, Cleve Hill Solar Park Limited submitted an application to the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) for a Development Consent Order (DCO) for the proposed Cleve Hill Solar Park on 16 November 2018.
This is the first NSIP application of its kind and heralds a new era of large-scale, subsidy free solar generating stations in the UK. The Cleve Hill Solar Park comprises two generating stations, solar and energy storage, each with an estimated capacity in the region of 350MW. That makes it the largest solar and energy storage project in the UK.
Partner, Gareth Phillips and Associate, Peter Cole of Pinsent Masons have advised the applicant since the genesis of the project in 2015. Not only is this the first and largest project of its kind in the UK, it has also been designed to make provision for innovative technologies, including the latest and most efficient east-west aligned solar modules, and energy storage solutions. The proposals include two energy storage options: a battery power pack solution, or a containerised solution, similar to other energy storage sites recently deployed globally. Energy storage and demand side response will help deliver more renewable energy to homes when there is greater demand, allowing consumers to benefit from the competitively priced energy.
Cleve Hill Solar Park Limited’s aim is for the project to be among the lowest cost generators of electricity in the UK and would not require government subsidies. Cleve Hill Solar Park is expected to provide enough affordable and clean electricity to power over 91,000 homes and save over 2.2 million tonnes of CO2. More renewable energy generation is needed to achieve the UK’s goal of reducing carbon emissions by 80% and to support a low carbon economy.
Gareth Phillips, Energy & Infrastructure Partner, said “As the first and largest project of its kind in the UK, the Cleve Hill Solar Park has required a wholesale change of approach to solar park development in the UK. The front-loaded nature of the NSIP regime under the Planning Act 2008, means that this solar and energy storage project has involved a great deal more technical input and consultation than undertaken for similar projects to date. It is a very exciting, novel, and technologically innovative renewables project, and we hope the Secretary of State agrees”.
The Planning Inspectorate has 28 days from 16 December 2018 to formally accept the application for examination. A final decision is not expected to be made by the Secretary of State until late 2019/early2020.
The proposed development site is located on the north Kent coast roughly one mile northeast of Faversham and three miles west of Whitstable, and closest to the village of Graveney, within the district of Swale.