Scotland’s largest solar farm which will provide power for more than 3,500 homes from a Perthshire estate has been officially opened.
The 55,000 solar panels on Errol Estate began construction in January on 70 acres of land.
The 13MW scheme, which went live in May in the Carse of Gowrie, generates energy all year round.
Paul Wheelhouse, the Scottish Government’s minister for business, innovation and energy, cut the ribbon to formally launch the solar farm on Tuesday.
Errol estate was one of the first locations in Scotland to be identified as a potential solar farm site, with the land being promoted for development by Thomas Macmillan of Savills in 2011.
The company say the project is proof that large-scale solar PV systems work well on the east coast of Scotland.
Savills, and developers such as Elgin Energy, the renewables company behind the Errol scheme, are continuing to source solar sites across Scotland for more projects.
Savills Energy Director Thomas MacMillan said: “We are delighted to see this project come to fruition with power now being generated. It has been four years in the making and proves that large-scale solar in Scotland continues to be commercially viable.”
Mr McMillan said the viability of such schemes had become more challenging due to the Westminster Government reducing subsidies though he expected to see more large-scale projects in the future which didn’t require subsidies.
He added: “Solar technology has a far greater role to play in Scotland’s energy mix than many people might realise.
“Due to reducing installation costs, and a climate of support from Scottish Government, we are continuing to see an appetite from developers to take forward new development sites, even with reducing subsidy support from the Westminster government.”
Government minister Paul Wheelhouse said: “This very substantial and impressive project is proof that large scale solar photovoltaic systems work well on the east coast of Scotland and I am also greatly encouraged that a variety of organisations are continuing to source solar sites across the country, with a view to developing financially viable schemes.
“The Scottish Government is developing a new, overarching Energy Strategy for Scotland, which means developing a ‘whole systems approach’ considering Scotland’s energy supply and consumption as equal priorities, building a genuinely integrated approach to power, transport and heat, and solar will play an important role within the energy mix.”