Stirling Observer

Extra time given to huge solar farm

Green energy firm can now operate site for 40 years

- KAIYA MARJORIBAN­KS

A new 50,000 panel solar farm is to be allowed to stay in place for longer than expected.

Energy company Green Energy Internatio­nal (GEINT) first earmarked land 800 metres southwest of Patricksto­n Farm off the A811 near Gargunnock in 2018.

Stirling Council officials conditiona­lly granted the company’s planning applicatio­n for the 15MW, 64-acre renewable energy project in May last year with one of the conditions that the land be restored after 35 years.

However, the company have now been granted conditiona­l approval to extend this to 40 years after submitting an applicatio­n for a variation of the condition.

In their submission they said: “The proposed extension of the operationa­l lifespan from 35 years to 40 year has been carefully considered. An extension would result in greater environmen­tal benefits both to the local area through clean energy, but also on a national scale, as the site would continue to help Scotland meet its net zero carbon goals.

“The ability for an extension for this site has been framed through the greater efficiency of the panels fitted. From the time of the original submission of the applicatio­n, the design of the solar panels which will be fitted has improved. This will result in greater levels of energy produced from the same amount of panels as stated in the original planning applicatio­n.”

Livestock will continue to graze on the Patricksto­n Farm site throughout the existence of the solar farm.

GEINT specialise­s in developing large-scale solar farms which allow rural businesses and landowners to diversify.

No objections were submitted to their original applicatio­n, which included ground mounted fixed solar panels, a substation building, invertor stations, access tracks, perimeter deer fences and pole mounted CCTV cameras.

The panels are typically 0.8m off the ground, with a maximum height of approximat­ely 2.6 metres. The panels will face south and will be angled at 23 degrees. Areas underneath are used for livestock grazing.

When originally approving the solar farm council planners acknowledg­ed it would result in a “substantia­l magnitude of change on this existing landscape resource” but agreed the developmen­t would “fit with the pattern and scale of the wider landscape”.

In their decision on the variation, council planners said: “Conditions have been applied which restrict the planning permission to 40 years, and following this the restoratio­n of the site in accordance with an agreed restoratio­n plan.

“In the event of the site becoming redundant, a condition has been applied which addresses liability for restoratio­n. Also, in the event of a continuous period of six months of the photovolta­ic scheme failing to produce electricit­y, the applicatio­n site shall be reinstated by the site owner in accordance with the agreed restoratio­n scheme.”

 ??  ?? Site Green Energy Internatio­nal has permission for the solar farm between Gargunnock and Kippen
Site Green Energy Internatio­nal has permission for the solar farm between Gargunnock and Kippen

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