Solar farms to spend £100m on 20 sites over the next two years

The UK’s biggest developer of solar farms that could generate enough power for 1,000 homes plans to spend £100m developing 20 sites in Northern Ireland over the next two years.

Lightsource Renewable Energy Ltd is currently consulting on plans for large scale farms at 35 acres of land at Aldergrove while the other currently under consideration is at Upper Ballinderry.

Lightsource Renewable Energy commits to the site for 25 years and has already developed 75 solar farms to date.

The company is backed by private investors who will get a return from green government subsidies which are guaranteed for 20 years.

According to Lightsource Renewable Energy land can continue to be used for grazing and in areas where the solar farms are given over to nature they have greatly enhanced biodiversity.

The company also said that meeting UK government targets of 22GW of electricity from solar over the next 15 years would only require use of about 0.3% of all agricultural land. The Executive wants 40% of NI energy to come from alternative sources by 2020.