Gas network launches first solar farm in north Norfolk

The new solar farm in Brisley, north Norfolk. Pictures: Cadent

The new solar farm in Brisley, north Norfolk. Pictures: Cadent - Credit: Archant

A new solar farm comprising 388 panels has been built by Britain’s largest gas distribution network in north Norfolk.

Cadent's new solar farm in Brisley. Pictures: Cadent

Cadent's new solar farm in Brisley. Pictures: Cadent - Credit: Archant

Located at an existing Cadent site in Brisley, between Dereham and Fakenham, it will help deliver savings on both carbon emissions and business costs.

Cadent's first ever solar farm will generate enough energy to power its north Norfolk network of above ground gas installations.

The site is already screened by trees and has enough land to house the solar panels.

The panels, also known as photovoltaics (PV), don't need direct sunlight to work and can still generate electricity on a cloudy day.

Electricity generated at the new array will be fed into the local electricity distribution network, providing a clean and renewable source for energy for homes, schools, businesses and community facilities.

The panels have a peak generation capacity - the most electricity that can be generated at any one time - of 130kilowatt (kW).

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The site will generate an estimated 120megawatt (MW) hours a year. That will be enough electricity for the site and nine other above ground Cadent installations in the region. Any surplus electricity generated will enable additional revenue to be produced for the business.

Each panel has an operational lifespan of 25 years and special power optimisers which keep the array generating as efficiently as possible have also been installed. Cadent network supervisor Robert Davies came up with the concept and further developed the idea with his team, who operate and maintain Cadent's gas infrastructure in the area.

He said: "The concept was relatively straightforward with clear-cut environmental and economic benefits.

"It took us around a year to plan and agree the project and we were then able to get it built over just a few weeks this autumn."

Cadent helped the team secure the £160,000 funding required to make the project a reality,

Cadent Director of East Network Darren Elsom said: "As a company Cadent is committed to being innovative, efficient and to making a positive contribution to the environment."

Similar projects at other Cadent sites could follow in the near future.