Old Welsh racecourse and colliery to house huge PV arrays

An old racecourse and colliery could be the first of two locations for solar parks in Wales if plans are given the green light by the government.

The plans, which have been put forward by environmental energy firm Entec on behalf of
developers, will see thousands of photovoltaic panels – which have an individual size of around six ft – set up on the two sites in giant arrays. They would be placed facing in a southerly direction towards the sun, as is the point.

Wales isn’t exactly a tropical hotspot but PV has come far enough not to need constant, happier climates.

The former Cynheidre Colliery centre at Five Roads near Llanelli could generate up to five  million watts, which according to Entec is enough to power around 5,000 homes with electricity, while the Ffos Las Racecourse site will put out around three million watts.

David Kenyon,  project manager at Entec, told TechEye: “We submitted plans for two sites in  Carmarthenshire on behalf of the developer.

“If they are permitted they will supply global green electricity, which will either go through the national grid or through a private wire system.”

He said the need for the solar parks was driven by the need for new energy as specified by the government and the submitted plans are in response to the government’s call to build renewable green energy and move away from fossil fuel. 

“Wales has a specified set of targets to reach by 2020 and these plans contribute to these,” he said.

The parks shouldn’t take too long to get going.
“If the plans go ahead the plants won’t be hard to build. Each solar panel is around 6ft and easy to implement meaning that it would take around six months,” Kenyon said.  “They will be sited and positioned to take advantage of local topography and they are considered to be well screened from surrounding areas.”

However, he warned it could take longer to get the whole project working if the developers wanted to export the energy through the national grid. They will need to get agreements signed and implement grid connections, which “could take some time”.