Plans to create one of Britain’s first hybrid renewable energy parks in Old Dalby - combining wind and sun power generation in the same place - have been given the green light.
Ecotricity has gained planning permission to build a new ‘sun park’, comprising of 18,000 solar panels, right next to the company’s existing nine-turbine wind farm already in operation on agricultural land next to the A46, to the north west of Melton.
It says the addition of the sun park, which it is investing about five million pounds into, will create enough green energy to power an extra 1,000 homes a year – 6,000 in combination with the wind farm - and save nearly 2,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide in the process.
The sun park is expected to be built towards the end of this year, taking a couple months to install once work starts.
Ecotricity founder Dale Vince said it also plans to boost the area’s biodiversity by ‘giving the land between the solar panels back to nature’, creating species-rich grassland and planting native hedgerows in the surrounding area.
He said: “Hybrid energy parks like this are the future of energy in Britain. The combination of the wind and the sun makes for a more consistent energy supply – and the potential for Britain’s energy independence is huge.
“The really powerful thing about a hybrid energy park is that it makes the best use of the available grid capacity. Wherever you go to build something like this you are given an allowance that you can put onto the grid.
“But when you mix your technologies of wind and sun because they’re complimentary, coming at different times of the year and day, you’re allowed to get a bigger total capacity on the grid than you would singularly.”