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Scotland's largest solar farm gets approval

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A 20 megawatt solar farm in Scotland has been granted planning permission.

In an announcement on Tuesday, Moray Council said that plans for the 47-hectare Speyslaw site had been approved, and that roughly 80,000 solar panels could be installed as part of the project.

The council said that cabling for the farm would be underground, enabling sheep to graze around the panels. In addition, no trees, hedges or woodland would be removed or altered. Before works commence, the council will have to approve a habitat management plan.

Permission for the farm is valid for 30 years. Once the permission expires the developers, Elgin Energy, will be given one year to decommission the site and return it to a condition agreed with the council.

"A significant amount of renewable energy will be generated by this solar farm over the next 30 years," Councillor Claire Feaver, chair of the council's Planning and Regulatory Services Committee, said in a statement.

"The opportunity to continue grazing on the land, together with the habitat management plan, will maintain and enhance the diverse range of species in and around the site," she added. "I see this as a win-win."

According to the Scottish government, there are more than 58,000 jobs in Scotland's low carbon and renewable energy economy. The government adds that renewables are the single biggest contributor to electricity generation in Scotland, higher than nuclear and fossil fuel generation.