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TWO solar farms earmarked for Melton – which would have been among Britain’s first – have been shelved by developers following a reduction in subsidies from the Government.

In February Lark Energy and m03 Power held public exhibitions outlining proposals for 5Mw solar farms on 30-acre sites near Kirby Bellars and Asfordby respectively.

There were mixed comments from residents who attended the exhibitions, with common concerns raised including the visibility of both schemes, each of which would have generated enough annual electricity to support about 1,200 homes.

But both schemes have been put on ice after, as of August 1, The Government’s Department of Energy and Climate Change slashed the rate it pays companies (for new 4Kw to 5Mw installations) from about 30p per kilowatt hour to 8.5p under its Feed in Tariff (FIT).

Under the FIT scheme, property owners who generate power from renewable energy sources are paid for the electricity they produce.

A spokesman for Lark Energy said it was still ‘looking at opportunities of doing some larger scale installations’ but had shelved its planned scheme near Kirby Bellars as it couldn’t be commissioned and connected before the August 1 deadline.

A spokesman for m03 Power also confirmed its solar farm proposals for a UK Coal-owned site, north of Asfordby Business Park, had been postponed.

He added: “It’s a complex policy area. For larger systems there was a subsidy in place until the end of July but we weren’t able to build the plant by then.

“There’s a chance that predicted rises in the price of electricity over the next 12 to 18 months might render projects like ours commercially viable.”

Energy and climate change minister Greg Barker said: “The new tariffs will ensure a sustained growth path for the solar industry while protecting the money for householders, small businesses and communities and will also further encourage the uptake of green electricity from anaerobic digestion.

Melton Times, 10 September 2011