A disused tin mine in Cornwall has this week become one of the last large-scale solar power plants to benefit from the government's "clean energy cashback" scheme.
The solar farm -- predicted to generate 1.4 megawatts of power each year, making it the UK's largest -- is the result of a joint venture between Lightsource Renewable Energy and solar panel supplier Solarcentury. The park covers a 2.9 hectare plot at Wheal Jane near Truro and will generate 1,437MWh of power per year from around 5,700 modules. This will be enough to power the equivalent of 430 homes in the area, saving more than 737 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year.
It will be one of the few large photovoltaic projects in the UK to benefit from "feed-in tariff" (FiT) rates, also known as "clean energy cashback". The government programme was designed to incentivise solar panel installation by paying businesses for the energy they generate, even if they use all of the energy themselves. The initiative offers those generating energy a rate that is well over the rate at which utility companies can cell the electricity, because it factors in the fact that solar power is more expensive to produce than fossil fuel power.