Tebworth Solar Farm – more information

Read Alpaca Communications’ response to Councillor Peter Warburton’s recently posed questions regarding Tebworth Solar Farm.


1. How big is Enso? How many solar farm projects are completed or under construction in the UK? Does Enso operate in other countries?

Enso Energy took the application through the planning process however, the project is now owned by Verdant Energy. It was acquired as part of a portfolio of projects, all consisting of co-located solar generation and battery storage. Please see here for more details: 


Verdant Energy is the trading name of the joint venture that owns the project, and I *Scott Gilbert* am the Managing Director. We are committed to playing our part in the energy transition, moving the UK away from fossil fuels and providing reliable electricity generation from renewable sources, such as solar energy and battery storage at our Tebworth project. I am joined by a small team with extensive experience delivering projects through development, construction and into operations across the UK, Europe and the Nordics.

Verdant Energy is supported by Ib vogt, who are not only a shareholder in the portfolio, but also our delivery partner for the solar generation aspect. Ib vogt have a 20-year history of global expertise with a large pipeline of projects globally. Their focus on development and engineering excellence supports IBV’s mission to create a greener future through renewable energy solutions.

1A. What is the target rate of return on investment on a solar farm project of this scale? Has the rise in interest rates made the project less lucrative? 

This project is able to deliver locally generated renewable electricity into the national electricity grid network, from where it will be distributed to UK customers. There are many external factors that can affect a project like this. Ensuring that we utilise motivated partners and suppliers, along with using state of the art technology and other innovations allows the project to be attractive.


2. How does the scale of the Tebworth project compare to Enso’s other solar farm projects? 

The Tebworth Solar Farm is a typical size for distributed generation sites in the post-subsidy era. Verdant Energy and ib Vogt have experience developing and operating multiple solar farm projects in the UK at a similar scale. 


3. Will there be the option of onsite battery storage of the energy generated, or is there just transmission to the National Grid via Sundon substation. 

The battery storage element of the project will be integrated with the National Grid electricity network. This means it can store electricity from both our solar farm and the wider grid network. The battery infrastructure will help secure the self-sufficiency of the energy supply and to balance the supply and demand of electricity. 


4. How low to the ground will the solar panels be situated?

At their lowest the solar arrays will be 800mm off the ground level and have a maximum height of up to 3m.


5. Are there plans for the land around the panels to continue to have an agricultural use?

Initially, it is important to fully implement the landscaping scheme and to ensure the new planting and grassland becomes well established. Once that has happened, we can consider the introduction of co-located sheep grazing. The site has been developed to enable that possibility. This would be conservation grazing for land management, quite common on solar projects, rather than intensive pastoral farming.


6. What is the timeline for the project? When will the cabling be laid to Sundon? When will the main construction phase be completed?

The cabling work between the project and the Sundon Substation is almost complete. We are now beginning the main construction works within the two areas off Chalgrave Road and Watling Street Road. The project is anticipated to be built by the middle of August later this summer.


7. What is the target date for connection to the Grid?

The detailed planning for the grid connection date is underway, we anticipate this to be during July this year.


8. Is there any provision for the local community to receive cheaper electricity as a result of the construction of the solar farm? Will local homes and businesses benefit directly? 

Verdant Energy is not currently able to provide electricity directly to the local community. The benefits of the Tebworth project are that the grid network can rely upon locally generated energy, produced from renewable sources, with the subsequent reduction in emissions. Additionally, this project will provide an overall positive effect to energy costs as by generating the electricity within the UK, it means less reliance upon imported fuels and variable international energy markets. 


9. What community benefits will the project provide?

We are open to speaking to the Parish Council and local residents about delivering a real local community benefit and will do so at our public information event which we will invite local residents once the date is confirmed. We are interested to hear ideas about local community projects and initiatives where our project may contribute.


10. What are the biodiversity benefits that the project will bring?

Tebworth Solar Farm includes a number of positive ecological contributions. The land will be rested from intensive agriculture which is a positive for soil health recovery. This also has a knock on for water quality for the ditches/drains through the site and off site.  The development also includes a landscape strategy plan with new planting and improvements to existing landscape features which will be managed in accordance with a Landscape Environmental Management Plan (LEMP). This includes various types of grassland planting, including wildflower meadow grassland, new hedgerows, improvements to existing hedgerows to make them more species rich, and new tree and woodland planting. Along with this will be bird and bat nesting boxes, reptile hibernacula, and invertebrate banks. Our studies have indicated an uplift of at least +45% net gain for habitats and +39% net gain for hedgerows.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *