Ethical Power has begun work on the Larport solar farm in Herefordshire, developed and owned by Conrad Energy.
The 45MW solar farm is Conrad Energy’s first solar farm project and is due to come online in 2024. Conrad Energy expects the project to provide enough power to support 10,400 homes, and save around 9,432 tonnes of carbon dioxide each year, significant renewable power impacts for Herefordshire.
The project also involves a number of stakeholders, potentially expanding its influence beyond the local area where it will generate power. Conrad Energy has secured an offtake agreement for the green power generated on-site through a power purchase agreement with BNP Paribas, which was announced last month.
While Conrad Energy owns the project, Ethical Power will monitor the site once operational to ensure it runs efficiently.
From fossil fuels to renewables
The Larport facility is also notable for its history as a fossil fuel project. Conrad Energy first achieved planning permission for a diesel generator in the area in March 2016, and this project was converted first to a gas facility, and then a solar plant, following feedback from local people. The project could help set a precedent for local involvement in power projects, and renewable power projects in particular, and the developers have made environmental compliance a key part of the project.
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The Larport solar farm will span 120 acres, a portion of which will be dedicated to biodiversity enhancement. Natural grassland and wildflower meadows are planned for the site to encourage natural development. According to Ethical Power, the site will deliver a “significant biodiversity gain for the area” over its 40-year lifespan.
“Our partnership with Conrad Energy has spanned multiple areas over the years but the project in Herefordshire is our first solar photovoltaic build for them. We are very excited about delivering this exceptional project,” said Neil Buck, managing director of Ethical Power.
Project manager George Hall added: “Conrad Energy [is] very pleased to work with Ethical Power on this project as it builds on our long-term relationship. We are very excited to see work start on this flagship project.”