16 June 2024

Plans for solar farm submitted

A solar farm with the capacity to supply clean, renewable energy to about 16,000 homes is to be developed on land between the villages of Preston and Bilton if approved by East Riding Council.

Beverley-based developer Gamcap has submitted a planning application for the scheme, proposed for land bordering Neat Marsh Road, Wyton Road and Old Fleet drain.

The 49.99MW solar farm, called the Wyton Road Renewable Energy Project, will consist of photovoltaic cells that turn the sun’s energy into electricity and an advanced battery energy storage system (BESS) with a capacity of up to 20MVA.

The battery storage ensures excess power generated in daylight can be stored and delivered when needed most, even at night.

Previously, the output from renewable sources of electricity would be limited when the National Grid reached capacity but new storage technologies mean this is no longer the case, enabling more of the UK’s energy to come from renewable sources.

Douglas Gardner, director of Gamcap, said the Wyton Road Renewable Energy Project would strengthen the Humber region’s reputation as a global leader in renewable technologies, as well as play a role in helping the region and wider UK achieve net-zero.

The solar farm will connect to the National Grid via the Saltend substation north of Paull.

Mr Gardner said: “The East Riding of Yorkshire is likely to be badly impacted by climate change because it is vulnerable to flooding and coastal erosion, two things that are being accelerated by the problem.

“Therefore, it is essential we act to reduce carbon emissions on a regional, national, and global scale as quickly as possible.

“The Wyton Renewable Road Energy Project will generate enough electricity to power around 16,000 average-sized family homes without creating any carbon emissions.

“The carbon emissions saved by this scheme each year are the equivalent to planting more than 1,000,000 trees or taking some 7,000 cars off the road, which is huge.

“Not only that, schemes such as this help to increase the UK’s energy security, which is vital in the light of recent global events.”

If planning permission for the project is granted, work is likely to start on site towards the end of 2024.

The build time is estimated to be between nine to 12 months, and it will be strictly controlled to ensure any disruption to local communities is kept to an absolute minimum.

Chris Isard, director of Gamcap, said that the site had been chosen for a number of reasons including it being flat, not being in an environmentally sensitive or protected area, and due to its close proximity to the Saltend grid connection.

He stated that as well as creating the solar farm, Gamcap would be making a number of ecological improvements on the site, adding: “We are committed to increasing biodiversity in all shapes and forms. To this end, we will be planting native trees and hedgerows around the perimeter of the site as this will shield it from view, as well as providing new habitat for birds and mammals, and absorbing atmospheric carbon.”

Mr Isard also confirmed that as part of the project, the developer would be creating a community fund.

“This will be used to directly benefit local communities,” he said.

To view and comment on the application, visit the East Riding Public Access website and search the reference 22/03457/EIASCO.