Project Information

Why are we developing the solar project?

  • Fife Council has declared a Climate Emergency and the Scottish Government has set a target date of 2045 for reaching net-zero emissions.  The Climate Change Act 2019 means that Scotland has some of the most stringent statutory targets in the world.
  • The importance of taking action to address the Climate Emergency is recognised at a local, national and international level.  Projects such as Dunfermline Solar will help in achieving these targets.
  • Dunfermline has good levels of solar irradiance; it has brownfield land that can be transformed; and it has power-users and new urban/residential development in need of green electricity.

Will solar power generation work in Fife?

  • Solar panels need daylight and sunshine, not high temperatures, so solar panels can and do work well in Scotland – especially in the summer months and the long daylight hours in Scotland.
  • Solar can help balance the grid with wind farms being more productive in the winter months when Scotland has higher than average wind speeds.

What does the project consist of?

  • The plan takes in about 112 acres of land that was formerly an open cast coal mine.
  • The project will consist of around 75,000 panels, with a power generation capacity of around 29.9MW AC and associated battery storage (BESS) in order to store & supply power when the sun doesn’t shine (BESS which will utilise lithium-ion batteries contained in 12 containers)
  • The solar panels will be set on lightweight frames with a minimum ground clearance of 0.6m and a maximum panel height of up to 3m.
  • The power will be converted from DC to AC power via 6 inverters and a transformer and will connect to the grid at the Townhill Substation nearby. There may also be opportunities for large local power-users to connect directly by “private wire”
  • The area under the panels can safely be used for grazing since the panels will be 0.6m above the ground.

How does it work?

  • Solar panels are made out of photovoltaic cells (which is why generating electricity with solar panels is also called solar PV) that convert the sun’s energy into electricity.
  • Photovoltaic cells are sandwiched between layers of semi-conducting materials such as silicone. Each layer has different electronic properties that energise when hit by photons from sunlight, creating an electric field. This is known as the photoelectric effect – and this creates the electrical current.
  • Solar panels generate a Direct Current of electricity. This is then passed through an inverter to convert it into an Alternating Current, which can then be fed into the National Grid or directly to large local power users.

How long will the project take to develop?

A planning application for consideration by Fife Council was submitted in April 2022. If it gains their support then we aim to have the project operational and supplying power within 18months.

The transformation of the site has the potential to help towards all of Fife Council’s energy objectives :

  • Climate friendly, transforming the economy, infrastructure, land use and energy system to decarbonise how we live;
  • Climate ready, increase the resilience of Fife communities and the economy to help minimise the impacts from unavoidable climate change; and
  • Climate just, ensuring that all Fifers and the Fife environment can benefit from this transition.

Why do we need the project?

The UK is transitioning to zero and low carbon sources of power. All coal fired power stations have to close by 2025 meaning over a quarter of the UK’s energy generation needs to be replaced. The UK’s climate change ambitions are amongst the highest in Europe and the aim to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 is set in law.

By 2050 we could also use 80% more electricity than we do today. For example, the growth in electric vehicle ownership has grown thirty-fold and is set to rise with the abolition of new diesel and petrol cars by 2040.

Currently the UK’s electricity price is the among the highest in Europe, meaning that we need to find ways of generating more affordable, renewable and clean electricity such as that generated by Dunfermline Renewable Energy Park. Furthermore, energy security for the country is now of paramount importance.

How will local wildlife and habitat benefit?

Considering FIFEPlan (Fife Council, 2017) Policy 13: Natural Environment and Access, the Proposed Development presents opportunities to enhance the natural environment interests of the site, which is primarily a low ecological value grassland.

It is proposed to create a wildflower meadow between the panels, with this managed through an appropriately timed mowing or grazing regime. Additionally, there will be planting of native hedgerow along the public footpath and the site boundaries.

Defunct hedgerows will be reinstated and enhanced to achieve a species-rich environment which will be valuable to birds, bats and other mammals within the development’s setting, by providing further foraging opportunities and connectivity for species migration.

How will the local area benefit?

Aside from helping Dunfermline move to a zero carbon future, the project will represent a significant investment in the local economy. Pennon Group is establishing a skills, supply chain and employment plan and aims to utilise local suppliers for equipment and services wherever possible.