The scale of UK solar

This article looks at the official facts available online about the solar industry to examine the UK’s solar industry.

First a graph from an Excel doc about UK Solar Deployment by capacity via the UK Government’s National Statistics service


Note how 46% – less than half – comes from what they call “large scale installations” i.e. greater than 5 MW. And only 12% comes from installations greater than 25 MW – the darkest blue in the table above.

Don’t forget that the Cleve Hill developers are planning a massive 350 MW project – this is on a completely different scale.

So just how big are the UK’s existing solar parks? Here’s another set of data from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. They keep a Renewable Energy Planning Database which is updated on a monthly basis. It’s an Excel file again, and you can filter the information. This is a view filtered by ‘Solar Photovoltaics’ and sorted by size (ignore the first line which is missing data):


This shows that many of the largest installations in the UK are typically on old airfields, MOD space or RAF land.

The largest in the list is MOD Lyneham at just under 70 MW. This is five times smaller than the proposal from the Cleve Hill developers. The firm behind MOD Lyneham, now called Bradenstoke, show what their park looks like on their website. Here’s a couple of images from their site, but remember that Cleve Hill Solar wants to build something five times bigger than this on our doorstep: