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Lower Bodachra Solar and Storage

Homes powered
Carbon Saved
Solar capacity
Storage capacity

Current planning process status

  • Public Consultation
  • Revise Proposals
  • Application Submitted
  • Application Consultation
  • Decision on Application

About the project

Innova are planning to develop, construct, and operate a new solar array and energy storage system located on Lower Bodachra farm and Perwinnes Farm in Dyce, Aberdeen. The site will have the ability to generate up to 84 MWp of solar energy and store 45MW through Energy Storage Systems.

This solar generation is enough to power 27,793 homes, which equates to 22.7% of all homes in Aberdeen City Council. The project will also prevent 16,564 tonnes of carbon dioxide being emitted each year throughout its 40-year lifespan. 

The site has been carefully selected and designed through a detailed assessment process considering grid availability, heritage, landscape and amenity, ecology and environmental designations, access, and agricultural land quality.  We have instructed a wide range of expert consultants to undertake a variety of surveys to assist with the design. 

An important part of the development process is to engage with the local community, and we are hosting our first drop-in event for the local community on Wednesday 25th October 2023 from 2pm-7pm at Balgownie Community Centre, Scotstown Garden, Bridge of Don, Aberdeen AB23 8HX. If you are unable to attend this event, please email where someone can contact you to answer any questions you may have. 

We will be hosting a second consultation event once we have been able to review any feedback raised and when all of the surveys have been completed. 

Benefits for the local community

Our Community Promise 

We believe it is important that local communities share in the benefit our project brings. For all our energy storage projects, we offer a community benefit fund which can be used to support local projects and priorities. We will work with our host communities to agree the best way to provide and administer that fund. 

Every year, the Lower Bodachra Solar and Storage will contribute £50 per MW of energy storage and £250 per MW of solar installed to the community benefit fund. A further £20 per MW of energy storage and £100 per MW of solar installed will contribute to the charitable donation annually for the entire operational lifetime of the project. 

This means Lower Bodachra Solar and Storage will generate £23,250 to the community benefit fund and £9,300 for a charitable donation each year. 

Site design

The site has been carefully selected after reviewing land available within a 3km radius of Dyce GSP. The proposal will connect to the National Grid via an underground cable from the substation on site to Dyce GSP. 

The project is following an iterative design process and is being informed by an analysis of the site character, and environmental and physical constraints and opportunities, drawing on desk and field work by a team of experts. 

The storage containers are distributed through the western site in pairs with an associated cabin, containing power conversion equipment (MV Skid). Groups of ESS units are connected together into a transformer bay that ultimately feed back to the site substation. 

The solar site will be made suitable for grazing within the fenced area and seeded with an appropriate grassland mix. The margins of the site outside the fence can be used for other habitat enhancements such as wildflowers. 

A bespoke biodiversity strategy will be prepared that ensures existing and new habitats are enhanced or created to benefit local wildlife. As part of this initiative, our landscape planting, seeding and habitat creation plans will focus on native species. These initiatives will contribute to securing long-term biodiversity net gain across the site.  

A pre-application engagement with Aberdeen City Council and the Energy Consents Unit was requested in May 2023. As part of this process planning, officers seek the views of relevant statutory consultees and will provide feedback which will be fed into the design process. 

The latest site design can be seen in the image below:

Read more

The equipment

Solar Panels: The solar panels will be mounted with a maximum rear height of 3.1m using frames fixed to the ground with piled posts or ground screws. 

Energy Storage: The modular system is stored in containers. Each container will have a heating, ventilation and air-cooling unit and transformer.  

Medium Voltage (MV) Skid: The MV Skid is required to convert the Direct Current (DC) to Alternating Current (AC) via an inverter. 

Inverters units: Convert the power from DC to AC and are mounted on the back of the solar panels at intervals. 

Substation buildings: A substation is used to connect the solar farm to the local electricity network and meter the production. 

Transformer units: Transformers are used to step up the voltage from the solar panels to a suitable export level and are placed strategically throughout the site. 

Perimeter fence: Wooden posts supporting traditional wire stock fencing (approximately 2m high) to match the local vernacular as required by the local authority. Infrared CCTV cameras may be required which would look along the fence line with no exterior lighting required anywhere on site. The energy storage and substation compound will be enclosed by palisade fencing. 

Site access

The majority of vehicular movements associated with the development will occur during the construction phase, which is expected to take 16 weeks. A temporary construction compound will be created towards the eastern boundary of the site. 

Construction vehicles will be required to follow routes and safety procedures set out within a Construction Transport Management Plan. The initial review suggests that construction vehicles will travel from the A90, on to the B977 and head south along B997. 

Once the solar farm has been completed and is operational, there will be one to two visits a month for routine maintenance from light goods vehicles, or a 4X4.

Specialist environmental surveys

A range of specialist consultants undertake surveys to be submitted with the planning application to aid in the design process and to ensure the site is appropriate for development. The following surveys have been undertaken or will be undertaken as part of the planning process: 

  • Hydrology and Flood Risk Assessment 
  • Land Capability for Agriculture 
  • Highways and Construction Traffic Management Plan 
  • Landscape and Visual Assessment 
  • Historic Environment Desk-Based Assessment 
  • Preliminary Ecological Appraisal 
  • Ecological Impact Assessment 
  • Arboriculture Assessment 
  • Noise Assessment 
  • Biodiversity Net Gain Assessment 
  • Bird Hazard Management Plan 
  • Economic Impact Assessment

Green energy and climate change

The UK has a legally binding target to achieve net-zero by 2050 and has committed to fully decarbonising the electricity network by 2035. Scotland is aiming to generate 50% of Scotland’s overall energy consumption from renewables sources by 2030. This results in Scotland requiring at least 20 Gigawatts of additional low-cost renewable electricity capacity.

Aberdeen City Climate Change Plan 2021-2025 states an interim target of corporate carbon emissions being reduced by 75% compared to the Council’s 2015/16 reporting baseline. Aberdeen City Council are aiming to be Net Zero by 2045. 

The UK Government realises the true potential solar provision can have in renewable energy generation, acknowledging that not enough is being done to both promote and allow for increased solar provision across the country. In response to this, the Government has published a paper ‘Powering Up Britain – Energy Security Plan’ (April 2023), which states: 

“The UK has huge deployment potential for solar power, and we are aiming for 70 gigawatts of ground and rooftop capacity together by 2035. This amounts to a five-fold increase on current installed capacity. We need to maximise deployment of both types of solar to achieve our overall target. 

“[…] Ground-mounted solar is one of the cheapest forms of electricity generation and is readily deployable at scale. The government seeks large scale ground-mount solar deployment across the UK, looking for development mainly on brownfield, industrial and low and medium grade agricultural land.

“Solar and farming can be complementary, supporting each other financially, environmentally and through shared use of land. We consider that meeting energy security and climate change goals is urgent and of critical importance to the country, and that these goals can be achieved together with maintaining food security for the UK.

“We encourage deployment of solar technology that delivers environmental benefits, with consideration for ongoing food production or environmental improvement. The government will therefore not be making changes to categories of agricultural land in ways that might constrain solar deployment. 

“The government considers that there is a strong need for increased solar deployment, as reflected in the latest draft of the Energy National Policy Statements. We recognise that as with any new development, solar projects may impact on communities and the environment. The planning system allows all views to be taken into account when decision makers balance local impacts with national need.” 

The government will also be publishing a solar roadmap in 2024 which will set out a clear step by step deployment trajectory to achieve the five-fold increase of providing up to 70GW of solar by 2035 to demonstrate the government’s clear commitment to the sector. 

Solar is, therefore, readily deployable at very large scales, one of the cheapest forms of renewable electricity generation, can be sited above biodiversity enhancements such as wildflower meadows, can be done in unison with farming and is at the core of the Governments aims to increase renewable energy production. 

Renewable energy is characterised by its intermittent generation profile across multiple sites. This is an inherent characteristic of renewable energy generation and an inevitable consequence of having multiple sites across the country, engaging a number of different technologies, each of which have different generation profiles throughout each day and night, and the seasons.

In some instances, there may be an ‘excess’ of electricity being generated and supplied to the grid; more than is required at a particular time. At other times there may not be enough. Once operational, the Energy Storage Scheme (ESS) would have the ability to respond rapidly to the short-term variations in demand and fluctuations in the output from renewable energy sources. 

ESS projects provide a solution to this. ESS sites, like Lower Bodachra Solar and Storage, receive electricity from the grid at times of peak generation and can be used to manage that generation profile, releasing electricity back into the grid at times it is needed most. 

Without these kind of ESS facilities the electricity generated by renewable energy developments would essentially be curtailed at a time where there is an indisputable urgent national need for energy.

The consequence of this is the need to manage an occasionally insufficient and intermittent supply, leading to increased prices, increased additional carbon emissions through additional generation required from non-renewable sources, and reliance less secure sources from abroad, or fossil fuel fired generation which is still used to support the network at times of stress.