A Bristol company has just won permission to build the largest solar farm in Scotland.

Elgin Energy, based at the harbourside, builds solar farms all over the UK and has over 1GW of electricity generation in the pipeline, enough to power nearly 400,000 homes.

The newest project is a 20MW installation near Urquhart in Morayshire which would use 80,000 solar panels across a 47-hectare site, the size of 40 football pitches. This will have 20 inverters to convert the DC electricity from the solar panels to AC for use in homes, and all the cabling wil be buried so that sheep can graze between the panels.

The largest Scottish solar farm in Perthshire currently produces 13MW, although the company has also built a 30MW solar farm in Norfolk.

30 year lifetime

The Moray site has permission for 30 years, after which it will be returned to its original condition.

“Existing field boundaries will not be disturbed and mature hedgerows will provide generous screening for the site,” said the company. “We have contacted those neighbours in the immediate vicinity of the site and has offered to answer any queries which might arise. The land will remain in agricultural use in the form of sheep grazing while being used for the dual purpose of generating low-carbon renewable energy.”

The company is planning an even larger development in Scotland producing 50MW of power, but permission for that scheme is not expected until 2018.

Elgin’s projects are available at www.elgin-energy.com/projects/