Renewable Connections is investigating the potential for a solar energy farm at Selms Muir Farm by Kirknewton, West Lothian. Once operational, the project, would supply enough power for 7,000 homes and make a valuable contribution towards tackling the climate emergency in West Lothian.
As we prepare an application to submit to West Lothian Council Renewable Connections is undertaking consultation to inform local communities of our proposed plans and invite any feedback. This consultation period opens on Thursday 23rd September 2021 and closes at 5PM on Friday 15th October 2021.
We will also be hosting a virtual community information event on Thursday 7th October (6pm-8pm) to present our proposals and answer any questions. Please note that this community event is not a statutory requirement of The Town and Country Planning (Development Management Procedure) (Scotland) Regulations 2013 due to the ‘local’ scale of the proposal. Any comments made on the proposal at this stage are not representations to West Lothian Council; when the applicant submits a planning application there will be an opportunity to make direct representations to West Lothian Council’s Planning Department.
We held an online community consultation event, you can view the recording here:
10,500 tonnes of CO2 saved annually
23,356 megawatt hours supplied each year
Equivalent annual energy needs of 7,000 homes
45 hectares of land enhanced for native wildlife
The site proposed for Selms Muir Solar Farm comprises agricultural land located to the west of Kirknewton, West Lothian
If installed the solar farm will have an export capacity of 18MW and will be operational for up to 40 years. After that time, all the installation will be removed and the land restored to how it was before, but with improved soil health and biodiversity. The power generated will be exported to the grid via a substation connecting to existing powerlines which run through the site boundary. No new pylons will be necessary to facilitate the connection.
The solar panels will be installed in rows which run east to west through the site. These rows will be tilted towards the south to capture the maximum amount of solar irradiation possible. The total height of the panels will be no more than 2.8m above the ground with a gap of more than 0.8m above the ground at its minimum.
Small electric cabins will be located amongst the panels and these will be accessed by a network of crushed stone track which will run through the site. All of the panels will be surrounded by a deer fencing to protect the equipment from large animals entering the site. CCTV cameras will be located periodically around the site perimeter for security.
The development will also involve additional landscaping including hedgerow planting and improved biodiversity management. The site is currently pasture and arable land with low ecological value, however with the implementation of a Green Infrastructure Plan the site will be significantly enhanced for biodiversity by creating a range of new habitats, offering food and shelter to wildlife.
Following the UK Government’s declaration of an “Environment and Climate Emergency” in May 2019, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) advised that to meet ‘Net Zero’ targets, the UK will require substantial amounts of new, low carbon power sources to be built before 2050, up to four times that of today’s levels. The Scottish Government have set an ambitious target of net-zero emissions by 2045.
West Lothian Council declared their own climate emergency in September 2019 acknowledging that urgent action is required to limit the environmental impacts produced by the climate crisis.
Solar is one of the cleanest, lowest cost forms of energy available. Selms Muir Solar Farm would make a meaningful contribution to West Lothian’s energy needs by delivering green energy to over 7,000 homes annually. Over the lifetime of the project, it would save an estimated 420,000 tonnes of CO2 from being emitted.
This site has been identified following extensive site selection across West Lothian which took into account environmental designations, local electricity network access and capacity, the physical characteristics of the site, and a supportive landowner
For a period of approximately 6 months 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 will be included in a Construction Traffic Management Plan that will submitted with the planning application. There will be infrequent maintenance visits to the site during operation.
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 maximising benefits for the Central West Lothian Community. The project will support local businesses, provide enhanced business rates, and provide enhancements to wildlife. We will also establish a Community Benefit Fund to share the profits from the electricity sales to support local causes.
Selms Muir Solar,
141-145 Curtain Road,