Soham Solar Park hit minor stumbling block because the approval wording needs changing

A solar panel. Picture: Steve Williams

A solar panel. Picture: Steve Williams - Credit: Archant

A £10m solar park project set to serve 3,000 homes in Soham has hit a minor stumbling block after it was realised the wording to give it the full go ahead did not meet requirements.

The 60 acre solar project, on a patch of rural land at Triangle Farm, is one of 27 renewable energy projects, including five solar schemes across the UK, that was given the Government’s blessing in February.

But while Cambridgeshire County Council’s general purposes committee gave the project the green light a report says it “has become clear in discussion with the Low Carbon Contract Company,” “that they require very specific wording to agree that the scheme meets with their requirements.”

The authority given so far is “not sufficient”, according to a report by head of strategic assets Roger Moore, to be discussed on Tuesday (24).

The specific wording needs sorting so that work can begin in May with a completion time planned for September 2016, the report says.

In February this year the Department of Energy and Climate Change announced that the county council’s Soham solar farm was successful in a competitive auction which led to contracts being offered.

The contract, known as Contracts for Difference, is the Government’s new approach to support large scale renewable energy and the auction was the first of its kind.

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Site design must be complete by the end of November. If amended planning consent is needed then that will need an updated approval with East Cambridgeshire District Council, the report says.

A ‘milestone requirement notice’ must be agreed with the contracting company by February 2016 to make sure the project ticks all the boxes to confirm the council’s commitment to the project.

“Although the county’s general purposes committee has already given authority for this project to proceed in line with the county council’s governance requirements, central Government’s governance requires its own precise wording for the council’s project to be part of that authority and as a result this further decision is sought,” the report explains.