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Sun-kissed Angus to be home of giant solar electricity park

PLANNERS are considering an application to build one of Scotland's largest solar energy parks on the outskirts of Arbroath.

The 50-acre site at New Mains of Guynd Farm four miles south-east of the town has been lodged with Angus Council.

The project would create one of the country's first commercial-scale solar energy parks and it is estimated it would be able to generate enough electricity to power 2500 homes.

The plans have been drawn up by Aberdeen-based BWE ­Partnership, which specialises in generating renewable energy from solar radiation.

Under the proposals, four former crop fields within New Mains of Guynd Farm in Angus will be transformed into a park for solar energy production for 25 years, after which the components will be removed. The system will have a capacity of 9.5 megawatts.

More than 40 per cent of electricity used in Scotland currently comes from renewable sources, including solar power, wind turbines and tidal energy.

However, the Scottish Government has set a target to generate the equivalent of half the electricity used from renewable sources by 2015, with the sector expected to be able to fill 100 per cent of the country's electricity needs by 2020.

Ron Shanks, managing partner of BWE Partnership, said: "We are pleased to have reached the planning application stage in the development process and hopefully our proposal will be viewed favourably by Angus Council and the local community.

"We continue to be on the look-out for further solar park opportunities, especially in Angus and Fife, as we believe there is a real opportunity for Scotland to harvest energy from the daylight."

The site would be located in a remote area around 550 yards from the Black Burn.

Only two neighbours, including the farm's owners, are close enough to the site to be consulted. The council's planners have until August 22 to rule on the application. The application includes statements outlining any potential risks to the surrounding area.

One report on the potential risk of glare from sunlight reflecting off the panels said it was unlikely to cause a hazard for aircraft passing overhead.

The development will be around 14 miles from both Dundee Airport and RAF Leuchars.

The report stated: "Large areas of water are located in the vicinity of both airports.

"Water has a similar reflectivity to solar panels and is not considered a hazard to aviation.

"The impact of reflections from the proposed PV development when compared to the reflections from the sea water can be considered negligible."

A separate ecological report concluded that "no habitats of conservation importance were found" within the development site, while a heritage report said the panels would be "marginally visible" from some nearby ­buildings including a listed farmhouse at Tillyhiot Farm.

Steven Black, director of planning and development for commercial land firm JLL, which advised BWE Partnership, said: "While the idea of farming sunshine in Scotland may seem odd to some people, the lower intensity of sunlight is compensated for by longer hours of daylight, making solar power a viable resource of renewable energy north of the border.

"As one of the first developers to submit plans for such a site in Scotland, the park will provide a model for solar energy in rural areas. Not only will it help contribute to the UK and Scottish Government's renewable energy targets, but it will bring significant investment into the local area, providing employment opportunities."

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