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Lark Energy developed the project, working closely with landowner, Navigator Land LLP. The solar farm forms the heart of a unique comprehensive management plan for the estate which will draw together some of the best features of contemporary rural life including arable farming, sheep grazing, renewable energy, community access, conservation and environmental features.
Project construction is being financed by Santander, who have acquired the project rights from Lark Energy.
The solar farm itself will consist of around 125,000 panels positioned on land between the old runways, amounting to some 150 acres. Only about 30 per cent of each acre would actually be made up of photovoltaic panels, allowing the natural wildlife and grassland to flourish and sheep to graze the site.
Once connected to the grid, it could power the equivalent of 80 per cent of all homes in a town the size of Haverhill for a full year with clean and renewable electricity.
Lark Energy and Navigator Land have worked closely with St Edmundsbury Borough Council, the local parish councils and the local community in developing its plans and received planning permission at a council planning committee on 6th December 2012.
The solar farm builds on Lark Energy’s track record of developing and constructing some 60MWp of solar projects, including the UK’s largest solar farm to date at Wymeswold in Leicestershire.
Jonathan Selwyn, Managing Director of Lark Energy, commented “Lark Energy is delighted to be working with Navigator Land in delivering this innovative project. Navigator Land has created an exciting and integrated strategy for the whole site and is passionate about preserving and improving habitats and providing access to the public. Lark Energy shares this vision and looks forward to the scheme helping contribute towards Suffolk’s ambition to be the UK’s greenest county.”
Charles Ryder, who runs Navigator Land, said: “Our integrated strategy aims to provide a productive landscape generating food and energy, while enhancing wildlife and conservation, giving access to the site for the public and recognising the site’s heritage and history. We are delighted to be working with partners such as Lark Energy and Suffolk Wildlife Trust to ensure that this is the case.”