Hive Energy and Wirsol Energy to develop UK’s largest solar park in Kent

Hive Energy announced that the Cleve Hill Solar Park project to be located in Kent, which is a joint venture project between Hive Energy Ltd. and Wirsol Energy Ltd., has been granted development consent by the UK’s Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

The Cleve Hill Solar Park will comprise both solar and storage technologies and will generate up to 350MW of clean renewable electricity to power over 91,000 homes, reducing the UK’s dependence on fossil fuels and lowering CO2 emissions by 68,000 tonnes a year.

The solar park will be located on the north Kent coast one mile from Faversham and less than 60 miles from central London and is set to be the UK’s largest solar park.

The solar project won’t require any Government subsidies and aims to be one of the lowest cost generators of electricity in the UK.

The joint venture took the decision to pioneer the use of an east west panel orientation in the UK for the Cleve Hill Solar Park, which will be able to generate 44% more electricity generation than the same site with south-orientated panels.

The £450 million Cleve Hill Solar Park will create direct and indirect permanent jobs, contributing to the £12 billion low carbon electricity sector which supports 47,000 jobs with more in supply chains.

From the outset, the joint venture partners have recognised the importance of working with local stakeholders and have collaborated with local groups and nature conservation bodies to deliver significant local environmental benefits in the design of the scheme, including:

  • a dedicated landscape and biodiversity management plan which will achieve a 65% increase in biodiversity net gain on site through plans including an open meadow area, likely to be one of the largest areas of meadow in south-east England;
  • 56ha of specially managed habitat being set aside for overwintering birds, which has been designed in consultation with RSPB, Natural England and Kent Wildlife Trust;
  • agreement with the Environment Agency to align with its managed realignment programme to return the site to marshland in the future.

Giles Redpath, CEO of Hive Energy said:

“At Hive Energy, our mission is to create transformational change to deliver a cleaner future for all. Our belief is that renewable energy generation is the most important thing that is going to happen to our planet over the next 50 years. Solar energy is unique.

It has the power to transform the world. Since 2017, we have worked alongside stakeholders and the community to listen to their feedback and to design a solar park that benefits the local environment whilst delivering a significant amount of renewable, affordable and secure energy generation.

We are proud to lead the way, together with our partners at Wirsol, to deliver the UKs largest solar park. Due to be operational by 2022, the Cleve Hill Solar Park offers a real solution to our urgent climate needs and showcases the potential for the UK to lead the green recovery.”

Source: Press Release by Hive Energy. Photo credit: Hive Energy.