Old Malton

Harmony Energy is preparing a planning application to Ryedale District Council to build a solar farm with battery energy storage on Fitzwilliam Trust Corporation land to the north of the A64 near Old Malton.

Renewable energy is critical to ensure the future security of the UK’s energy supply, whilst helping to meet global targets to reduce emissions and mitigate climate change. We all have a duty to help combat climate change, and with your support, this scheme could help to support the provision of clean, renewable energy in the local area.

Our proposed development, created in conjunction with the landowner, would see the installation of solar photovoltaic (PV) panels on agricultural land. These freestanding solar panels would generate up to 50MW of low carbon electricity, which would feed into the local electricity network and supply energy for the equivalent of over 14,000 local homes, or offset up-to 17,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year.

If the scheme is approved, Harmony will be paying in excess of £100,000 per annum in Business Rates to Ryedale District Council, making a significant contribution towards crucial local services. In addition, we will be putting in place an additional community benefit fund for the lifetime of the solar farm.

The solar PV panels would be accompanied by a battery energy storage system with capacity of 30MWh, which can store renewable energy and release it when it is needed most.

About the site

The development site identified below is approximately 75 hectares. Under the plans, the land would be leased to Harmony Energy for a period of 40 years. Even in instances where land has been managed to best practice standards, evidence shows that if land is not farmed for a long period, the soil can rejuvenate and improve its quality. Solar farms have also been proven to encourage wildlife to flourish during this rejuvenation period, improving the biodiversity of the site.

This site is not subject to any national or local landscape or ecological designations, and we consider it the most suitable site in Ryedale for a development of this kind. An Environmental Impact Assessment and a full suite of assessments covering topics such as ecology, landscape and visual impact, heritage and flood risk will be submitted with the planning application.

About the development

This proposed development would be one of the largest private investments ever made into the local area. Our plans include solar arrays (a collection of solar panels) arranged in rows and installed on aluminium frames. The frames are supported by upright poles which will be driven into the ground, meaning no concrete foundations are required and very little excavation is necessary. This would be accompanied by 30MWh of batteries for energy storage, which are housed in containers. Neither of these technologies make significant noise.

Landscaping would be incorporated into the proposals to ensure there is reduced visibility from main roads. Our development would also support and improve biodiversity on the site whilst the solar farm and battery energy storage system is in operation through the planting of species rich grasses and wildflowers where possible. Another benefit of solar farms is that the site would still be available for sheep grazing.

The system would connect directly into Northern Powergrid’s Old Malton substation, immediately adjacent to the site. A small substation enclosure would also be built to house switchgear panels alongside an outdoor step-up transformer.

In 2019, Ryedale District Council declared a Climate Emergency and made a commitment to actions to help achieve net zero emissions across Ryedale by 2050. It is doing this by delivering a Climate Change Action Plan. We believe this proposed development would be a key contributor towards achieving that target.

In addition, Harmony Energy is keen to identify and support local causes that are aligned with its objectives and those of Ryedale District Council by linking them to the proposed development.