Solar PV thriving, says Savills Energy

Savills Energy has secured its 10th consecutive planning permission for ground-mount projects in the UK on behalf of leading British solar developer Solarcentury. This maintains a 100% success rate in planning application submissions by Savills for Solarcentury and reaffirms Savills’ assertion that elements of the solar photovoltaic (PV) industry are thriving, despite shifting government policy and subsidy frameworks.

The successful group of solar parks includes a new 13.4MWp site near Eynsham, Oxfordshire, in Prime Minister David Cameron’s constituency, which will generate enough clean solar electricity to power the equivalent of around 4,000 homes once connected to the grid. Frans van den Heuvel, CEO at Solarcentury, commented: “If you get the site, mitigation and biodiversity right, then local people and their representatives will welcome such developments.”

Commenting on the partnership, David Grindley, director of Savills Energy and Rural team, said: “We are pleased to be working with Solarcentury, a company that is committed to environmental enhancement and improvement in its solar parks. In 2013, SolarCentury partnered with the Bumblebee Conservation Trust and Habitat Aid to work together to create ecological gain by improving biodiversity at its ground-mount solar sites.”

Looking at the solar sector as a whole, he continued: “There is currently a lot of growth within the solar industry, especially at the megawatt scale for ground-mount projects. There is very strong interest in development and solar is an incredibly competitive industry, with increasingly limited opportunities to connect to the grid as capacity is taken up.

“In this context, it is important that land owners and investors work with a partner that is likely to successfully secure consent at the planning stage. This means connecting with developers and advisers with a proven track record of working with land owners and communities at a local level to garner their support, while taking into account the environmental and ecological impact of ground-mount projects. By taking this approach, it ensures that projects have the best chance of receiving consent and, ultimately, generating income.”

Savills Energy is a dedicated real estate and capital advisory service which works in conjunction with local land owners and communities to create agreements and developments that are sensitive and tailored to the needs of each specific situation.