Renewable Connections Developments Limited (Renewable Connections) is investigating the potential for a solar farm with battery storage up to 42MW on land near Montreathmont Moor Forest, Forfar.
Once operational, Montreathmont (“mon-trimmon”) Solar Farm and Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) will supply enough renewable energy to power up to 12,000 homes, and will make a substantial contribution towards tackling the climate emergency in Angus and the rest of Scotland. The addition of battery storage will allow energy generated during the daytime to be stored for us during peak time in the evening, improving the utility of the project and helping to balance the National Grid network.
As we prepare to submit a planning application to Angus Council, Renewable Connections is undertaking public consultation to inform local communities of our proposed plans and to invite feedback. In May, we hosted two virtual community information events to present our proposals and to answer any questions
We welcome any feedback you wish to provide so please do get in touch. On the 24th of May 2022 we hosted two virtual consultation events about our proposals. You can view the session from the link below.
19,700 tonnes of CO2 saved annually
45,000 megawatt hours supplied each year
Equivalent annual energy needs of up to 12,000 homes
The Montreathmont Solar Farm site is located 13km to the east of Forfar and 6km south of Brechin, and covers approximately 88 hectares of land. The site itself is currently used for arable farming, and is surrounded on all sides by dense coniferous forestry plantation.
Site access for construction and maintenance purposes will utilise the existing road access to Montreathmont Moor House from the B9113 to the south. An appropriate buffer zone will be provided from Montreathmont Moor House with enhanced boundary planting and natural screening in order to minimise any potential visual impacts.
Planning permission for a 42MW solar farm on the site was obtained in November 2015, following which a start on-site was made in 2018. Now, Renewable Connections is seeking permission for the addition of battery storage facilities to enable the renewable energy produced by the solar farm to be used at different times of day and climatic conditions
The proposed development is for the construction, operation, maintenance, and decommissioning of a ground-mounted solar farm with battery storage, with a maximum export capacity of up to 42MW.
The solar farm will be comprised of photovoltaic (PV) solar arrays together with a substation compound, inverters, transformers, cable trenches, Point of Supply (POS) infrastructure, internal access tracks, security fencing, and CCTV cameras.
The PV solar arrays will have the flexibility to use either a fixed or tracker mounting system. If a fixed mounting system is used, the panels will run in uniform rows from east to west in order to maximise solar gain to the south. If a tracker mounting system is used, the panels will run in uniform rows from north to south in order to allow the panels to tilt on a fixed axis and follow the path of the sun during the day, increasing their efficiency and output. The maximum top height of the panels will be 3m above ground, and the minimum height of the lowest part of the arrays will be 0.5m. If a fixed mounting system is used, the panels will slope 15 degrees from horizontal. If a tracker mounting system is used, the panels will tilt between +15 and -15 degrees from horizontal as they follow the path of the sun.
Bifacial panels will be used to collect light both on the front and the rear sides of the solar panels, as they capture sunlight reflected from the grass surface under the solar framework. Depending on site conditions, bifacial panels can increase the amount of sunlight captured by up to 30% when compared to traditional systems.
The BESS will be comprised of 28 standard 40ft shipping containers with battery modules stored inside. These will be located towards the centre of each field of solar panels to minimise any potential amenity impacts, and will be connected to the substation via underground cabling.
Once installed, Montreathmont Solar Farm will be operational for a period of up to 40 years from energisation. After this time, the solar farm will be fully decommissioned and the land will be restored to its pre-existing agricultural use, with the benefit of improved soil health and biodiversity as the land will have been allowed to fallow.
The power generated from the solar farm and battery storage development will be exported to the local distribution network via an underground cable run connecting to Lunanhead Grid Supply Point (GSP) located approximately 13km to the west of the application site off Old Brechin Road.
The construction of the proposed solar farm is expected to take no more than 24 weeks.
Following the Scottish Government’s declaration of an “Environment and Climate Emergency” in April 2019, and Glasgow’s hosting of the global COP26 conference in November 2021, it is now clearer than ever that to meet our legally-binding net zero targets the UK will require substantial amounts of new, renewable energy sources to be built before 2050 – up to four times that of today’s levels. In order to deliver this transition to net zero at the pace needed to limit the most severe impacts of climate change, it is also vital that these renewable energy sources be supported by appropriate energy storage infrastructure.
Scotland is leading the UK in the transition to net zero. The Scottish Government aims to generate 50% of Scotland’s overall energy consumption, including energy for hearting, from renewable sources by 2030. By 2050, the aim is to decarbonise Scotland’s energy system almost completely.
Angus Council declared a climate change emergency in September 2019, recognising the impact on life for now and future generations should carbon emissions continue unabated. The Angus Sustainable Energy & Climate Action Plan was published in October 2021, which supports the Council in its commitment to sustainable development, environmental management, and the transition to a low carbon economy. One of the key objectives of this Action Plan is to grow renewable energy generation in the region, reducing reliance on harmful fossil fuels.
Solar is one of the cleanest, cheapest forms of energy available. Montreathmont Solar Farm will make a meaningful contribution to Angus’s energy needs by providing enough renewable energy to power up to 12,000 homes. Over the 40-year lifespan of the project, the proposed solar farm and BESS would displace an estimated 791,771 tonnes of CO2 from fossil fuel sources. This is around the same reduction in carbon emissions as taking over 11,300 petrol and diesel cars off the road over the same period of time.
This site was originally identified following an extensive site selection process across Angus, which took into account environmental designations, local electricity network access and capacity, the physical characteristics of the site, as well as the need for a supportive landowner who is committed to sustainability, environmental stewardship, and community benefits.
For a period of approximately 24 weeks during construction, there will be deliveries of equipment to site. Renewable Connections will put in place measures to manage impacts of construction traffic and these measures have been included in the Construction Traffic Management Plan (CTMP) submitted with the solar farm planning application. There will be infrequent maintenance visits to the site during operation, expected to be no more than once per month.
Solar farms are temporary and the land will be fully reinstated to farmland once the equipment is removed at the end of the project life.
No – solar is a passive technology which doesn’t produce any harmful by-products.
The development proposes a life span of up to 40 years. No later than this, the development would be decommissioned, and the site returned to solely agricultural use. A decommissioning plan will be provided with the planning submission.
No – solar farms are not noisy, producing no more than normal background levels of sound similar to wind or distant traffic beyond the site boundary.
Renewable Connections is committed to setting up a community benefit fund to be made available to fund local projects. We would welcome any suggestions as to what local projects might be able to benefit from this fund, so please do get in touch using the contact details at the bottom of this page.
Solar power is the most affordable form of energy in the UK. This is due to the cost of solar panels declining as much as 60% since 2010, with their efficiency having greatly improved over the same period. It is also important to note that sunlight (the primary input) is free which means that the price of solar power is much less volatile than fossil fuels that must be imported at cost. Therefore, more solar farms mean cheaper energy bills.
The independent National Food Strategy review has shown that solar farms do not in any way present a risk to the UK’s food security as there is already more than enough agricultural land to meet the UK’s needs. Indeed, solar farms provide a valuable income stream for farmers to continue food production on other parts of their land, whilst solar farms themselves can still be used for sheep grazing.
Montreathmont Solar Farm,
141-145 Curtain Road,