Planners in Fleet have unanimously approved a 75-acre solar farm at Kiln Fields in Heckfield, Hampshire after UK temperatures soared to 42 degrees.
Councillors on the Hart District planning committee voted 10-0 in favour of the application from clean energy solutions company Enviromena on Wednesday evening (July 20) following two days of a record-breaking heatwave.
The 17.9MW Kiln Farm project will support the UK’s transition to Net Zero, will help mitigate the effects of climate change , and will produce enough energy to power 6,700 average sized homes every year. With 33,102 monocrystalline bifacial solar modules, it will generate 19,025 MWhs of energy, offsetting approximately 4,500 tonnes of carbon emissions per annum.
This is the second Enviromena site in as many months to have been granted planning permission and follows the 24.2MW Horsey Levels project in Somerset. Together, the Kiln Fields and Horsey Levels projects are two of three sites which were sold to Blackfinch Energy, part of Blackfinch Group. The third site, the 25.7MW Three Maids Hill in Winchester, Hampshire, is expected to be finished construction in the next six weeks.
Deals like this, combined with funding from major shareholder Arjun Infrastructure Partners, have enabled Enviromena to remain active throughout the lifecycle of solar project development and operation in the UK and Europe.
This planning permission comes at a time when UK consumers’ energy prices have risen by 54% this year, and these prices should continue to rise for the foreseeable future due to the global unpredictability of supply now caused by geopolitics and the war in Ukraine. Such project approvals will reduce the UK’s dependence on imported fossil fuels which often have a much higher carbon footprint than renewables and which are susceptible to supply shocks and price volatility.
Enviromena’s Chief Executive Cabell Fisher said: “Sites like Horsey Levels and Kiln Fields are vitally important as we work towards the UK Government’s new targets to more than double existing renewable generation capacity.”
He felt the timing of the unanimous vote was no coincidence: “The fact is the heatwave brought into sharp focus the devastating impact that climate change is having on our country. It’s encouraging to see that local authorities are embracing the need to drive the renewable agenda.”
Mr Fisher had one word of warning though. He said: As we race to develop these solar and renewable projects in the UK we are seeing substantial grid connection delays of up to a decade due to soaring demand and constraints to the National Grid.”
“If we are to meet those targets and accelerate the UK towards a more sustainable future, the Government needs to act now to reduce long grid connection dates and provide a swift upgrade to the transmission structure.”
One of the UK’s largest clean energy solutions companies, Enviromena has more than 1.7GW of active solar farms and battery energy storage systems in development and operation throughout the UK and Europe.