Solar powered green light for Cornish power plant

Thursday 11th Nov 2010 by theWeather Club

A power station using solar panels to create electricity has been given planning permission in Cornwall. About 5,000 panels, each about 2m high, will cover more than seven acres at the former Wheal Jane tin mine near Truro. Developer 35 Degrees said the panels would produce enough electricity at full power for about 300 Cornish households. The county is known to have the warmest and sunniest climate in the UK making it an obvious place for this kind of project. Modern solar panels can work well even when the weather is cloudy and so the plant is projectedto be productive for up to 12 hours a day during the summer.

Building work is expected to take about six weeks, which is not bad for a power plant, and be completed some time in February. Cornwall Council estimates solar farms could lead to up to £1bn of investment into the county. It is the first solar farm to be given planning permission by Cornwall Council but there are another 14 applications under consideration. Developers have been encouraged by a guaranteed price, introduced in April, for energy from renewable sources.

Lucy Hunt, manager at Cornwall Development Company, the economic development company for Cornwall Council, said: "We're seeing the start of a Cornwall solar gold rush.” While Stephen McCabe, managing director of 35 Degrees, said: "This is the first building block in bringing a new growth industry to Cornwall and the UK."