Leading North East commercial law firm Muckle LLP has played a vital role in creating one of the UK’s first and largest solar parks.
Moor Solar, part of the Moor Group of Companies, has a longstanding relationship with the North East legal specialists. Plans to create a 2.8 megawatt solar park on 20 acres of redundant farm land near Long Sutton, Lincolnshire were jeopardised by the government’s recent U-turn on financial incentives for solar power schemes.
The government had originally offered a 25 per cent feed-in tariff (an incentive known as clean energy cash back) to solar power schemes feeding electricity into the National Grid. However, a decision to cut the feed-in tariff for schemes above 50 kilowatts (effectively anything bigger than an average primary school roof) meant that businesses like Moor Solar, which were planning projects that were bigger than this, were given a deadline of August 1 2011 to complete their schemes and preserve the original government incentive.
Peter Smeaton, director of Moor Solar, explained that the deal he had with investors to run the solar park, was at risk as a result of the government’s U-turn. “This whole scheme represented a £10m investment and it had to go through before the deadline. Thanks to the expertise of Muckle’s Energy Team it did, on July 21st.
The change in the Government’s approach meant that projects like this had to be accelerated or abandoned. The Muckle team took up the challenge and helped to drive through a complicated suite of documents against some really tight deadlines.”
“The Moor Group of Companies has worked with Muckle LLP for almost ten years now and because of their sector expertise, the Energy Team there was the obvious choice for us. We needed support that had the technical knowledge to make a scheme like this happen, that were capable of dealing with the City lawyers engaged by the investors and, crucially, who would take a no nonsense approach to the challenging but critical deadline. I am absolutely delighted with the results and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Muckle’s Energy Team to any other business looking for this specialist advice.”
The £10m solar park at Long Sutton is one of fewer than 20 schemes that managed to meet the government’s August 1 deadline and is the third largest in the country. The power generated by the PV panels generates enough electricity for 5,600 houses each year.
Peter added: “The project is a significant investment which will generate power, revenue and jobs in maintaining the solar park. It is also potentially a great educational facility.”
Steve McNicol, managing partner at Muckle LLP, said: “We are delighted to have supported Peter and Moor Solar on such an exciting project. This was uncharted territory and, as one of just a handful of projects like this in the country, Peter should be very proud of what he has achieved. Without his unstinting desire to make this happen, the project would have fallen by the wayside in the same way that so many others did.
We always enjoy working with Peter and are very proud that were able to help him make this renewable energy scheme a reality.”
For more information about the Muckle LLP Energy Group visit www.muckle-llp.com
Above photo: an aerial photo of the solar park at Long Sutton, Lincolnshire.