Parc Cynog Solar Farm
In the Spring of 2015, Vattenfall started to explore the solar potential of a piece of land at Castle Lloyd Farm. Thorough research was undertaken and numerous surveys completed, resulting in the submission of a planning application to Carmarthenshire County Council in August 2015.
Planning permission was granted in November 2015. Construction of the 4.99MW solar array at Parc Cynog commenced in late January 2016 and the project was fully operational by late March 2016.
The solar array is situated in one field at Castle Lloyd Farm which already contains one of the turbines of the existing Parc Cynog Wind Farm and the project will share the grid connection already utilised by the wind farm. Combining both wind and solar on one grid connection is a first for Vattenfall.
Wind and solar – how do they complement each other?
Wind and solar energy complement one another well as solar works best in the summer, when wind energy output tends to be lower, and in the winter when solar energy is very low, wind is usually generating at its highest levels. The majority of the infrastructure is also in place, including the grid connection and access tracks. Parc Cynog Wind Farm can power around 4,800 homes per annum, based on a UK average consumption. The solar farm is expected to produce sufficient electricity to power up to 1441 homes* per annum during its lifespan of 30 years.
(*The solar farm is expected to produce approximately 5,500,000 kWh/year. The average domestic consumption within Wales, based upon the latest data, is 3,736 kWh per annum (DECC, 2013) therefore the solar farm is expected to provide sufficient electricity to power up to 1,472 homes; the Carmarthenshire domestic average is slightly higher than the Welsh average at 3,815 kWh per annum therefore, based upon the Carmarthenshire average, the site would be expected to generate sufficient electricity to power up to 1,441 homes.)
Exploring the benefits
As part of the project, Vattenfall is looking to invest in solar panels for local community buildings in the local area to create a sustainable source of energy. Representatives of a number of community buildings have been in touch and feasibility studies will be carried out on these properties in the coming weeks.
Community site visits
During the summer of 2015 a group of local residents joined us for a site visit to explore the project further before construction. A further site visit took place in May 2016 after the construction was completed. The group were impressed by the site and how quickly it had been constructed.