Locogen secures consent for 1MW solar farm at Machrihanish Airbase.

Established in 2008, Machrihanish Airbase Community Company (MACC) was formed to promote the use of the airbase’s facilities for the benefit of the local Campbeltown and Kintyre community. After four years of hard work, MACC purchased the former RAF airbase in 2012, with over 1,000 acres of land and a number of large commercial and industrial buildings which are connected to the site’s private wire network.

MACC’s core aims are promoting growth and employment in the surrounding area. Sustainability underpins these aims, and MACC are committed to contributing towards Scotland’s renewable energy targets. To this end, MACC applied to the Community and Renewable Energy Scheme (CARES) for funding to explore the opportunities for renewable energy at the airbase. After tendering the project, they appointed Locogen in 2016 to undertake a feasibility study to assess the options.

The report looked at a number of technology options, and concluded that a ground mounted solar system provided the best investment opportunity. Locogen then prepared a comprehensive planning application, including a detailed landscape and visual impact assessment. This was submitted to Argyll and Bute Council in March 2017 and planning consent was awarded by delegated decision in May.

The 1MW scheme will generate circa 851,000kWh of electricity per year, will significantly reduce the site’s dependence on imported electricity and represents a substantial saving in energy costs. The solar array will be located just over 200 metres from the operational runway. From the beginning Locogen worked with HIAL – the airport‘s operator – to ensure that the development could operate in parallel with this important regional airport.

Locogen are looking forward to continuing their work with MACC through the tendering, construction and operation phases of the solar project.

Tom Millar, chairman of the MACC group, said “we’re delighted with the work Locogen have completed to date. Their assessments and advice have been comprehensive from the outset and we feel in very safe hands with Locogen as our technical advisors as we take this project forward into the construction phase”.