Anesco targets 30 MW PV development of UK brownfield site


Renewable energy company Anesco has announced that it is to undertake a major regeneration project in the north of England that will transform disused coal mine sites into ground-mounted solar parks that will be operational for 25 years.

The four brownfield sites identified by Anesco are all former collieries, three of which are in Robin Hood County, Nottinghamshire, and the other at Askern in South Yorkshire. The Nottinghamshire sites have already been granted planning permission, with Anesco confident that consent will also be granted to develop the Askern site.

Once completed, the projects will deliver a combined solar capacity of 30 MW, which is enough to power 15,000 local households a year and offset 15 tonnes of carbon annually. Anesco will work closely with Haworth Estates, a U.K. property regeneration company that owns the land, with work due to begin this summer.

Anesco’s strategy falls in line with the U.K. government’s strategy to aid the development of the country’s brownfield sites, and with each of the proposed solar parks set to be larger than 5 MW, Anesco is eager to have the work in place before the expected withdrawal of the renewable obligation (RO) subsidy scheme for large-scale solar installations by April next year.

The first site to come online will be the 11.2 MW PV park at Welbeck Colliery, near the Nottinghamshire town of Mansfield. This project will cover 32 acres and comprise 44,160 solar panels mounted on 15 km of frames. The second and third projects, both at 5.74 MW, will be located in Gedling and Bislthorpe, Nottinghamshire, with the Askern plant following soon after.

"Through these installations we will not only be regenerating disused land but will be creating employment, generating renewable energy and helping to reduce the U.K.’s carbon emissions," said Anesco CEO Adrian Pike.