KELLS SOLAR PV PROJECT
22nd June 2015
The Kells Solar PV Project proposal has now been submitted to the Northern Ireland Planning Service and will be advertised by the Department of the Environment (DoE) in due course and neighbours surrounding the site will be notified in accordance with internal DoE procedures.
By way of information, we enclose for your information our Electricity Savings Scheme (ESS) leaflet. The Electricity Savings Scheme or ESS is a community led initiative which aims to deliver direct benefits to the local area in terms of discounted electricity bills. This is in addition to a significant community benefit fund for the local area been delivered through the local community groups.
To find out more about the Electricity Savings Scheme (ESS), please see the ESS leaflet below or please contact us on 0117 223 2034 or by the contact form at the bottom of the page.
11th May 2015
Further to our previous public consultation event (November 2014) and our recent series of open days (March 2015) we are continuing to prepare an Environmental Statement (ES) to accompany a future planning application for this proposal. This report will be informed by an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process which will assess all potential environmental impacts as well as relevant issues raised during the pre-planning consultation process
As part of our Stage 2 community consultation process we are holding a second series of open days in the Tullyglass House Hotel, Galgorm Road, Ballymena, Co Antrim in May 2015. This will provide stakeholders with a further opportunity to meet with Elgin’s project team to again raise any queries or to seek clarification on any aspect of the refined design detailed in the project brochure shown below.
As per the meetings held in March, there will be a maximum of 10 people at each meeting comprised of 6 stakeholders and a maximum of 2 representatives from Elgin and 2 from the project team.
We are looking forward to meeting as many people as possible during our open days. We would be grateful if you would complete the booking form below by Thursday 21st May 2015. We will be in touch shortly thereafter with confirmation of the time and date for your meeting. If you are unable to attend, we continue to welcome your feedback via the linked questionnaire below.
Please see our information leaflet below, or download a PDF here.
20th February 2015
Further to our previous public consultation event held in the Ross Park Hotel on 11th November 2014, we are continuing in our preparation of an Environmental Statement (ES) as part of the planning application that is to be submitted for the above project. This Statement will be informed by an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process which will consider and assess all potential environmental impacts as well relevant issues raised during the pre-planning consultation process. As such we would welcome your comments and feedback via the questionnaire below. A selection of public display boards and questionnaires will also be available to view in the Kells and Connor Library, 5 Main Street, Kells, Ballymena, County Antrim BT42 3JH in due course.
The pre-planning consultation process represents an important opportunity for stakeholders to influence the project and we would therefore welcome your participation.
In addition, Elgin will be holding a series of open days in the Galgorm Hotel, Galgorm, Co. Antrim in March 2015. This will provide stakeholders with the opportunity to meet with Elgin and members of the project team and to raise any queries or to seek clarification on any aspect of our development.
The open days will take the form of a series meetings between Elgin, the project team and stakeholders. There will be a maximum of 10 people at each meeting. This will be made up from a maximum of 6 stakeholders and a maximum of 2 representatives from Elgin and 2 from the project team. We believe that this arrangement provides the best opportunity for meaningful and constructive consultation.
We are looking forward to meeting as many people as possible during our open days. We would be grateful if you would complete the booking form below by Friday 27th February 2015. We will be in touch shortly thereafter with confirmation of the time and date for your meeting.
Please see our information leaflet below, or download a PDF here.
Register your interest in Electricity Savings Scheme (ESS)
1 KELLS SOLAR PV PROJECT
Elgin Energy EsCo Ltd. are seeking to develop a ground mounted solar PV installation in Kells, Ballymena, Northern Ireland. Listed below is key information about the proposed development and also general information on solar PV.
It is important to note that the project is evolving through detailed design and stakeholder consultation. We suggest that you re-visit the website from time to time to check on developments or changes to the project. In due course we will also put the full planning application on the website.
Please contact us using the Contact Form on the website if you have any questions about the development, solar PV or if you would like us to visit you at your home to discuss or view any aspect of the development that impacts you directly.
1.1 Project Status 6th January 2015
The project is at the pre-planning stage. The scheme has been developed to a stage that allows us to meet and consult with stakeholders. Feedback, both positive and negative, from stakeholders will inform our final design. We envisage lodging the planning application with the planning authority in February/March 2015.
1.2 Site Location
The site is located to the east of the villages of Kells and Connor, Ballymena, Co. Antrim. Please refer to the Site Location Drawing on the website.
1.3 Size of Site
The site is approximately 112ha.
1.4 Temporary Development
Planning is being sought for development with an operational period of 25 years.
1.5 Site Access
Access to the site will be from two access points off the Whappstown Road. Please refer to attached Site Layout Drawing.
1.6 Public Consultation
We have a detailed consultation strategy which involves meetings with public representatives, a consultation event (held 11th November) followed by meetings with residents at their homes to discuss issues that impact on them directly. These meetings are on-going.
1.7 Generating Capacity & CO2 Savings
• The site will generate in the region of 49,000,000 kWh of electricity per annum. This is equivalent to the electricity used by 15,000 houses.
• The site will save the equivalent of 21,500 tonnes per MW of CO2 over the lifetime of the project
1.8 Construction Period + Construction & Operational Traffic
• The construction period is 4 months.
• It is envisages that there will be 8 to 9 deliveries per day to site over the 4 months construction period.
• There will also be a number of cars and small vans visiting the site daily during the construction period.
• During the 25 year operational life of the project it is envisaged that along with normal farm traffic there will be on average eight vechicle movements (car/van) per month related to the on-going operation and maintanance of the instaliation.
The site will be surronded by a 2.4m high perimeter fence. The fence will be a rural ‘timber and post’ fence replicating a deer fence. This is a change following the public consultation event. Please refer to the Fence Drawing on the website.
1.10 Key Components in the Proposed Development
• Solar Panels
There will be around 200,000 solar panels installed on the site. Each panel is approximately 2m x 1m. Please refer below images of a typical PV Panel.
• Primary sub-station
The sub-station will be approximately 6m long x 3.2m wide x 3.4m high. The sub-station will have a concrete base.
There will be around 40 invertors on the site. The invertors are typically 7m long x 2.5m wide x 3m high. The invertors will have a concrete base. Please refer to website for images of a typical Invertor.
• Access Track
A 3.5m wide permeable access track will be installed to provide access to the inverter stations.
A series of CCTV cameras will be installed throughout the site. The CCTV arrangements are based on infrared technology so no lighting will be required at night-time. Please refer to website for images of a typical CCTV camera.
1.11 Ecology & Biodiversity
Our objective is always to mitigate any potential impacts on nearby residents, the landscape together with ecological and cultural interests.
PV developments encourage ecological growth as they are tranquil, largely undisturbed sites which do not require heavy machinery or intensive farming to maintain. Existing hedgerow and site vegetation are retained and additional hedgerows are planted to minimise views while also providing a boost to local wildlife and increasing biodiversity.
Elgin will also introduce other features to enhance wildlife. These will be set out in the Biodiversity Management Plan (BMP) that will be submitted as part of the planning application. These features will include a standard 5m ecology buffer zone or corridor to enhance biodiversity throughout the site. Other features include bat boxes, bird boxes, raptor perches, bug hotels, ecology buffers, the planting of a grass and wildflower mix which includes bee supporting species like clover through areas in the site. All these actions will allow wildlife habitats to flourish.
RSPB, which is the largest conservation charity in the UK, supports well-planned solar PV farms because they greatly improve biodiversity.
In 2014, The National Trust, Royal Society for Protection of Birds, Bumblebee Conservation Trust and The Eden Project have supported such statements as;
“Solar farms typically take up less than 5% of the ground they occupy leaving huge scope for biodiversity enhancements in a protected space”
1.12 Decommissioning the site
• At the end of 25 years the site will be decomissioned.
• The mounting poles will be removed and the small holes arising will naturally close within a couple of weeks.
• The poles and aluminum frames will be sent for recycling.
• The concrete bases for the sub-station and the invertors will be dismantled and sent for recycling.
• The invertors and sub-station will be reused on another development or dismantled into their constituent parts (steel, copper, etc) and sent for recycling.
• The cabling throughout the site will be removed from the site and sent for recycling.
• The PV panels are a mixture of aluminum, glass, silicon and copper. The panels will be reused on an alternative development or sent to a recycling plant.
1.13 Are there any health and safety issues with the following?
With the exception of a small fan within the invertor stations there are no other moving parts on the site. The fan in the invertors is of a size and rating of a fan that is found in most domestic bathrooms. This will be the only noise emanating from the site.
There are no emissions, noxious or otherwise emanating from the development.
• Glint and Glare from the panels
Elgin will be submitting a Glint and Glare study of the site as part of the planning application. Glint and Glare is generally not an issue for PV developments. It is noted that many international airports now have large ground and roof mounted PV installations. It is also noted that there are PV panels adjacent to and facing the main runway at Gatwick Airport.
1.14 Will inclement weather impact on the generation of electricity?
It is solar radiation hitting the panels that generates the electricity. Panels will therefore generate electricity during day light hours. Clouds, fog, mist, etc reduces the level of solar radiation hitting the panels and will therefore impact marginally on the production of electricity.
1.15 Light Pollution
There will be no permanent lighting from the completed development. There will however (for health & safety reasons) be temporary task lighting on site during normal construction hours.
1.16 Screening of the site
It will not be possible to screen the site from every possible view point. Where possible and in particular where there is a view of the site from residence, ‘standard’ or ‘heavy standard’ trees will be planted on the site to screen or break up these views. This will be set out in detail in the Landscape Management Plan (LMP) which will be submitted as part of the planning application.
1.17 Is there an increased risk of flooding around solar farm sites?
No – no mass concrete surface is required and the majority of the solar farm remains open grassland, so the solar farm infrastructure does not affect run-off volumes. In addition, the panels are raised on a pre-fabricated framework on screw-driven legs, so 5% of the ground surface is actually used.
1.18 Use of Agricultural Land
We confirm that there will be no loss of agricultural land arising from the development. Agricultural land is not lost, as it would be for say a housing or industrial development and the inherent grade is not affected as a result of the proposal. The full extent of the land being proposed for the solar farm will continue in agricultural use and will be grazed by sheep, which are reared for meat.
2 AN INTRODUCTION TO SOLAR PV
2.1 Solar Photovoltaic (PV) energy is the most promising and popular form of solar energy
In solar photovoltaic, sunlight is converted into electricity.
2.2 Sunlight is made of photons, small particles of energy
These photons are absorbed by and pass through the material of a solar cell or solar photovoltaic panel. The photons agitate the electrons found in the material of the photovoltaic cell. As they begin to move (or are dislodged), they are routed into a current. This is electricity - the movement of electrons along a path. Wire conducts these electrons to the grid.
2.3 Benefits of Solar PV
2.3.1 Economic advantages include;
• Can be installed faster than other traditional or renewable energy plants.
• Is most efficient at the time of day when utility rates and usage are at their highest.
2.3.2 Environmental advantages include;
• Clean, quiet and visually unobtrusive.
• Solar energy plants do not have any polluting emissions, do not make any sound and are easy on the eye.
• Local and national CO2 production is reduced.
2.3.3 Social advantages include;
• Creates clean, renewable energy that will sustain and support the health of future generations.
• Supports national energy independence.
• Creates local employment for the new energy economy.
• Efficient use of space
• A solar PV system increases the value of land due to the secure income that they deliver over long periods of time.
• People who invest in solar energy demonstrate their environmental awareness and social responsibility.
PUBLIC CONSULTATION MATERIAL
Project Overview_11th Nov 2014
Site Layout_11th Nov 2014
Site Photographs-1_11th Nov 2014
Site Photographs-2_11th Nov 2014
Site Photographs-3_11th Nov 2014
Site Photographs-4_11th Nov 2014
Site Photographs-5_11th Nov 2014
Site Photographs-6_11th Nov 2014
Site Photographs-7_11th Nov 2014
Site Location Map_11th Nov 2014
General Information_11th Nov 2014
Download Public Consultation Material
MAPS & DRAWINGS
Site Layout Map_Nov 2014 (OSNI map data dated May 2013)
Site Location Map_Nov 2014 (OSNI map data dated May 2013)
Typical Section through PV Module_Nov 2014
Typical Section through CCTV_Nov 2014
Typical Primary Substation Detail_Nov 2014
Typical Section through ‘Timber & Post’ Fence_Nov 2014
Download Maps & Drawings
Elgin PV Site Overview 1
Elgin PV Site Overview 2
Separation Distance between Modules
Sheep Grazing 1
Sheep Grazing 2
Steel Post & Frame Details 1
Steel Post & Frame Details 2
Typical Inverter Station
Typical Primary Substation
Typical PV Module 1
Typical PV Module 2
Typical PV Module 3