The 15 Biggest Solar Projects in Scotland 0

The 15 Biggest Solar Projects/Solar Farms and Wind Farms in Scotland

Scotland has a bold plan to reach net zero by 2045. This ambitious target can be met by aggressively changing power sources from traditional fuel and nuclear to more sustainable and green.

The original plan was for the country to reduce emissions by 90% in 2040. Scotland’s source for renewable energy has grown steadily from 2009 until 2020. Annual capacity has been increasing with an average of 700 MW every year. However, only a paltry 64MW was installed from 2019.

Wind has always been Scotland’s preferred choice of sustainable energy. As of June 2020, the country has 9,347 MW of installed wind power. However, there is room for diversification and expansion. This is why Scotland is currently installing solar farms around the country. 

But does solar power work in Scotland? Many are skeptical since the country is located north which means it gets less sunshine compared to countries in the tropics. Fortunately, commercial and domestic solar panels do work in Scotland and they are currently playing an important role in Scotland’s sustainable energy mix. 

If you’re curious as to how Scotland is faring as to her commitment to 100% zero emission by 2045, here are some of the biggest solar and wind projects in the country so far.

Errol Estate Solar Farm 

This solar farm is Scotland’s biggest and can power 3,500 homes. It has 55,000 solar panels covering 70 acres of land. The farm, located in Carse of Gowrie on the Errol Estate can generate 13MW and operates all year round.

Developed by property firm Savills and Elgin Energy, the farm contributes greatly to Scoltand’s energy mix. According to them, the project is proof that large-scale solar farms are viable in the country.

Wormit Solar Farm

Located in Fife county in Scotland, the Wormit Solar farm generates 4 MW of power. It sits in 27 acres of land and powers up to 1360 homes in the area. This farm has been in operation since March 2016.

Berryhill Wind Farm

Located around 4km northwest of Dundee is the proposed Berryhill Solar Farm. Upon completion, it will generate 50 MW of power, enough to provide for around 12,500 homes or 1 in 5 of Angus’ homes.

The project will be composed of around 152,000 solar panels. The farm is projected to offset approximately 20,230 tonnes of CO2 per year and greatly contribute to Scotland’s effort to be “net zero by 2045”. 

Community consultations were held in April of last year and environmental surveys were completed in June. The solar farm is being developed by Solar2.

Mackie’s of Scotland’s Solar Farm

Mackie’s solar farm is a 10-acre MW solar farm located in their Aberdeenshire family farm. The 7,000 PV system can provide enough electricity to power 193 houses for an entire year.

That power is being used to help Mackie produce its ice cream and chocolate. Aside from the solar panels, the farm also has wind turbines with the PV picking up the slack during the summer when wind levels drop. This mix of solar and wind energy means that the Mackie farm is 80% powered by renewable energy.

The project was built by 2015 by Loch Lomond based Absolute Solar and Wind in 2015. By the time it was completed, the project was Scotland’s first and biggest solar farm.

Black Law Wind Farm

The Black Law Wind Farm has an output of 188 MW and is located in Lanarkshire in an old opencast coal mine site. Originally housing just 42 turbines and generating 97 MW, 12 more were added during its second phase. It currently has 88 turbines after an extension in 2017.

Power generated by the windfarm offset approximately 200,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions a year and powers up to 70,000 homes. The project has been praised by environmental groups including  Royal Society for the Protection of Birds for its contribution to environmental objectives. 

It is owned by Scottish Power.

Braes of Doune Wind Farm

The Braes of Doune Wind Farm opened in 2007 and is located in Stirling. Built and run by Airtricity, the farm has 36 Vestas V80 2.0 megawatt wind turbines with a total capacity of 72MW in 400 hectares of land.

Clyde Wind Farm

With 152 turbines (12 more than Whitelee) generating  522 MW of power, the Clyde Wind Farm near Abington in South Lanarkshire is operated by Scottish and Southern Energy.

Powering around 200,000 homes, it started operating in 2012 and had an initial output of 349.6MW. An expansion saw an addition of 54 turbines in 2017 brought in an additional 173MW of power. 

Clyde Wind Farm is Scotland’s biggest onshore wind farm to date. 

Crystal Rig Wind Farm

The Crystal Rig wind farm is an onshore farm located in  Lammermuir Hills. When it first opened in 2004, it was the biggest wind farm in Scotland. 

Developed and owned by Fred. Olsen Renewables Ltd, the farm initially consisted of 20 Nordex N80 turbines for an output of 50 MW. A 2007 expansion added 5 additional turbines while another expansion saw the addition of 60 Siemens SWT-2.3 turbines for a capacity of 138 MW. The latest phase has the site totalling 85 turbines for the current generation of 200.5 MW.

Farr Wind Farm

Located just 10 miles south of Inverness, the Farr Wind Farm has 40 turbines with an output of 92 MW. It can power approximately 54,000 homes, more than enough for half the homes in the highlands of Scotland.

Originally maintained and serviced by Siemens, it is now managed by German company Deutsche Windtechnik. 

Hadyard Hill Wind Farm

Operated by Scottish and Southern Energy Generation LTD, Hadyard Hill Wind Farm is located in Carrick district of South Ayrshire. Power is generated via 52 three-bladed Siemens wind turbines for an output of 120 MW.

Aside from the turbines, the farm also houses 3 60-meter anemometer towers for monitoring wind speeds.

Novar Wind Farm

Novar Wind Farm is located in the Novar Estate in the Scottish Highlands. The farm has 50 turbines with a power generation output of 53.8 MW. 

Built and commissioned by Npower (United Kingdom) in 1997, it is now owned by Ventient Energy. 

Whitelee Wind Farm

Whitelee Wind Farm is the second biggest onshore wind farm in Scotland and is one of the few to be located near a major city. The farm is around 15 kilometers outside Glasgow and houses 215 Siemens and Alstom wind turbines and a total capacity of 539 MW. 

Located in  East Ayrshire and South Lanarkshire, it is the biggest onshore wind farm in the United Kingdom and is owned and operated by ScottishPower Renewables. 

The farm is an eco-tourist attraction and the visitor center hosts an interactive exhibition room, cafe, shop and education hub. The site also has 90 kilometers of pathways that bikers, ramblers and horse riders can enjoy.

Plans for a  40 MW solar farm and a 20 MW hydrogen electrolyzer are currently in the works.

Robin Rigg Wind Farm

As Scotland’s first offshore wind farm, Robin Rigg Wind Farm was constructed by  E.ON and completed in 2010. Located between the Galloway and Cumbrian coasts, it has  60 Vestas V90-3MW wind turbines with a total output of 180 MW and can power around 117,000 homes.

Hywind Scotland

As the first floating wind farm, Hywind Scotland uses floating wind turbines and generates 30 MV of power. It was commissioned in 2017 and is composed of 5 turbines non-rigidly attached to the bottom of the sea using anchors. 

It is owned by Equinor (75%) Masdar (25%).

Seagreen

Seagreen will become Scotland’s largest renewable source of electricity when it goes online. Projected to provide 1.1GW, it will power approximately 1.6 million UK households. According to developers, the project will save around 1.6m tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions annually and make a significant contribution to the country’s net zero targets.

It is expected to become operational in 2023 and is situated 27km off the Angus coast. 

Conclusion

Soaring oil prices and climate change are the biggest factors for Scotland pushing to change power sources to renewables. The Scottish government is pushing for 100% sustainable power by 2045. 

As of this writing, solar energy is being estimated to provide 7% of the country’s energy needs by 2045. This is because solar radiation has a strong seasonality because of the country’s location. Wind power is still Scotland’s biggest source of renewable energy. It is estimated that wind energy will provide the country 45% of power needs by 2045. 

Scotland’s decision to add solar power to wind and other sustainable energy sources can help lower carbon footprint and limit the devastation of climate change. Aside from impact to climate change, shifting early to low-carbon energy can help Scoltland and other countries become energy efficient and re-balance the earth’s temperature.

Sources

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