The proposed solar park will generate a wide range of socio-economic benefits.
In the year that Glasgow hosts the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26), this is an unique and exciting opportunity to produce renewable energy within the Glasgow City Council boundary. The team consider that the solar park proposal embodies Glasgow City Council’s and the UK’s sustainability goals.
The output of the proposal would be up to 18.4MW. Caledonian Solar Park would provide a significant environmental benefit by generating a large amount of clean, renewable, zero carbon electricity. The quantity of electricity generated each year could meet the annual demand of around 6,300 dwellings with median electrical consumption.
The proposal will also tie in with the Glasgow Climate Emergency Implementation Plan (November 2020) and the wider GCC net zero emission targets. Glasgow City Council’s draft Climate Emergency Implementation Plan sets an ambition to increase the amount of renewable energy such as solar thermal, PV or heat pumps in the city to represent 20 % of total energy demand by 2030. This is an ambitious target which the Caledonian Solar Park will contribute towards achieving.
The construction cost represents a significant injection of private sector investment to the benefit of the local economy. There will be a positive economic impact including generation of GVA during the construction of the proposed development. Equally, there will be knock-on effects from the supply chain and from the spending by employees into the local economy. These positive spin-off effects will be split between national and local benefits.
There is expected to be a range of employment opportunities created through both the construction and operational phase of the proposed development.
The construction of the Solar Park has the potential to support up to 50 jobs. The workforce profile is likely to include a range of skills such as site managers, electricians, technical specialists, HGV drivers and construction workers. Due to the nature of the roles available and subject to the procurement process, the roles are likely to go to both local and national residents. Indirect jobs will also be created in the supply-chain.
Once complete, further jobs will be created in the operation and management of the site including engineering and maintenance roles.
Land Use Change
Once operational, there will be opportunities to reintroduce agricultural uses to the site which represents an efficient use of land. It is most likely that the land will be used for sheep grazing. There will also be opportunities for increased landscaping on parts of the site particularly on the fringes. In doing so, this will allow for greater biodiversity of plant species compared to monoculture cultivation associated with arable farming. These wildlife benefits will have a positive output for the residents who live on the periphery of the site.