New solar power farm plan for Fife

A 35 hectare solar farm has been approved as part of a major mining redevelopment in the heart of Fife.
The new solar farm has been approved.The new solar farm has been approved.
The new solar farm has been approved.

Westfield Energy Ltd – a subsiduary of Scottish renewables firm Brockwell Energy – has been given the go-ahead to construct the solar harvesting facility near Kinglassie by Fife Council.

It forms part of the 423 hectare (1049 acre) Westfield site being redeveloped as an energy and industrial park.

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Westfield ceased mining operations in 1998 and the site was purchased with a view to redevelopment in 2013.

The site will now help to produce green energy.The site will now help to produce green energy.
The site will now help to produce green energy.

Planning permission in principle was granted for the entire complex in 2018 – but detailed proposals for each aspect of the site must be approved individually before construction can begin. An energy-from-waste incinerator is already being constructed elsewhere in the site.

In its application, submitted last autumn, Brockwell says the panels can generate up to 30 megawatts (MW) of energy.

It has proposed installying arrays of panels facing south and raised 80cm above the ground so the grasslands underneath can be grazed by sheep.

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Additional battery storage planned for the south-west corner of the site can store up to 20MW of surplus energy generated on particularly sunny days. This can be used to feed the National Grid on days where there is little direct sunlight.

It has proposed planting foliage around the site’s north and western edges to reduce the visual impact of the solar panels on the landscape

Case officer Martin McGroarty, reviewing the application, concluded the panels were appropriate and that construction work would be within acceptable limits of dust, noise and vibration.

In his handling report recommending approval of the site, he wrote: “There have been no objections to the proposal and the (solar farm) is consistent with the Development Plan and all national and local guidance.”

McGroarty attached ten conditions to the approval, requiring Brockwell to carry out site assessments and submit detailed work plans to the council prior to any construction going ahead.