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Yelland Solar Village

Projects / Mixed use

Yelland Solar Village

Project information


Client: TBC          

Project Date: 2012




Site Location: East Yelland Quay, UK

This proposal came about when Bill Dunster of ZEDfactory architects was cycling along the Tarka Trail with his family whilst on holiday in Devon. They were amazed to come across a large area of derelict concrete rubble in such a beautiful location. They were with a friend of the family, Tom Evans, the Barnstaple town-crier, at the time who was able to tell them the history of the site. We decided to approach the site owners with the idea of a cycle-related tourism concept based on inhabited landscape dunes under a PV solar array.

Building within the existing power station footprint

This location map shows the existing tourist trail that pass in and around the site as well as its proximity to Barnstaple.


The local train station is 5 miles from the site - about a 30 minute cycle.


The proposal will include car parking for many of the users of the site, but visitors will also be able to use other access points on the Tarka trail as well. This would reduce the amount of traffic centered around one location.


There is an existing quay on the site, originally designed to service the coal boats supplying the power station. This quay could be extended to provide berths for yachts and other pleasure craft as well as a water taxi service. The water taxi will consist of landing-type boats that can pick up visitors from Barnstaple at high tide for transfer to the site. Day trippers can also be taken over to the expansive dunes and the South West Coast Path at Horsey Island or down to Appledore and Instow.

Inhabited Solar Array

The former East Yelland Power Station site offers a unique opportunity for a mixed-use development comprising a zero carbon holiday resort located in an idyllic location with excellent access to the Tarka Trail & public transport, and a solar panel factory all nestled under solar canopies.


This location is also an ideal place for a solar manufacturing plant, as the south west of England is a prime area for solar panel installations large and small.


The resort will provide excellent employment opportunities and help boost the economy in the surrounding area.

The site has many unique attributes

  • direct access to the popular Tarka Trail cycle route, a short cycle ride from Barnstaple Station - allowing holiday-makers to travel to the resort from all over the UK on low-carbon public transport. No cars required.

  • located on the edge of protected wildlife areas, it is surrounded by unspoilt nature.

  • an existing jetty offering the potential for a beach and local port taxi service, minimizing the need for road-bound transport, that would otherwise have a significant impact on the surrounding road network. Any visitors who arrive by car will not need to use their car during their stay.

  • access to the National Grid for generating large amounts of electricity.

  • located in the South West of England, it offers some of the best conditions for solar electricity generation in the UK. This means that the solar canopy will work efficiently providing plenty of renewable energy to the resort and the surrounding villages.

Solar Irradiation Analysis

The detailed design of the solar electric roof allows an optimum electricity production whilst creating high levels of daylight from the north facility slopes

Solar Canopy

The solar canopy has south facing ridges clad in monocrystalline solar electric panels with translucent glass panels transmitting daylight between the silicon cells. The northern furrow is clear glazed to maximise internal daylight levels under the canopy spaces.


A clear span of up to 45m using laminated timber arches allows many internal sports, conference and rally type opportunities – with a clear focus on cycling, low carbon exhibitions, and perhaps political conferences / meetings and of course concerts / recitals . The central raised deck allows spectators an excellent view to both the estuary and internal events. A retractable thermal screen hung from rails suspended under the arch will allow for wind proofed events out of season.


The changing rooms, public toilets and equipment stores or the sport facilities are placed under the central boardwalk, these are accessible from both sides.

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