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PPAYA Signs PPA with Scotland’s Second Largest Solar Farm.

Located in Forfar just north of Dundee, Draghonhall Solar Farm is proud to be Scotland’s second largest solar generation site. Operating at 6.7MW of installed capacity, this site was finished in April 2023 and is currently powering up to 2,500 homes annually.

The visionary behind this project is none other than Angus Watson, an inspiring individual who, along with his dedicated family team, poured his heart and soul into the development of this site. He has undertaken a huge amount of work over the past few years, completing the grid connection & planning applications internally to minimise outsourcing expenses. Then overseeing the construction of the first two phases, doing much of the manual labour himself.

The family has taken on a lot of work throughout the process, but the result of seeing their finished site up and running was worth every effort! Angus Watson explains,

“During the construction phase, we employed a considerable workforce of approximately 12 individuals, who worked on-site for four weeks installing the mounting structure. An additional three weeks were then dedicated to securing the panels in place. The site encompasses around 12,000 panels, which require regular cleaning to maintain optimal performance.”

Maintenance primarily involves panel cleaning, taking advantage of Scotland’s abundant rainfall to effectively remove dust and bird fouling from the panels. This diligent upkeep ensures the panels’ efficiency and extends their lifespan. Despite doing as much work as possible by-hand, Angus soon realised it would be wise to invest in a specialist robot to take over the time-consuming task. He has had to choose his battles wisely, in terms of where to invest capital, but on this occasion has definitely been well worth it!

Dragonhall Farm has primarily been used as a biomass plant for the past two decades, providing renewable heat solutions to the local community. In alignment with the UK government’s Net Zero targets, the company began exploring additional avenues to diversify their income and ensure business longevity. Harnessing solar energy proved to be an ideal solution, considering their location in one of Scotland’s sunniest regions. Although weather North of the border can be more tempestuous, the elongated summer days mean solar arrays provide a similar output to their English counterparts.

With the solar plant now in operation, Dragonhall anticipate a lifespan of at least 30 years, ensuring a long-term commitment to renewable energy generation. In addition to the energy sector, the company also engages in sheep farming & cereal crops, to effectively utilise their 60-acre property throughout the year. In recent years, UK farmers have proven they are incredibly resourceful and adept entrepreneurs - not afraid to tackle market complexities and embrace risk. The Watson’s are a prime example of how innovation leads to job creation, driving sustainable economic growth.

The PPAYA team recently had the privilege of visiting the Draghonhall Solar Farm, courtesy of Angus & Bill Watson. For a more detailed overview and insight into Angus’ experience, click the link below to watch our site visit video.

Draghonhall Solar Site - Forfar, Scotland