Thank you to everyone who gave us their feedback on our proposals to make solar energy at School Farm.
Our feedback period is now closed but if you would like to know more about our proposals, or solar in general, you can call us on 08000 191 719, 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, or read and download a copy of our ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ document here.
We’ve evaluated a site at School Farm really carefully and are confident that it would be a great place to generate clean, renewable energy. A solar park here would have the ability to produce 12 MW of energy, enough for more than 3,600 homes. It will also save more than 5,100 tonnes of CO2 emissions every year. We’ve designed the solar park so that it would be really well hidden behind hedgerows and trees.
Before presenting our proposals for School Farm we’ve considered a wide range of factors including:
- The quality of the land and what it is currently used for
- Hydrology – e.g. floodplains
- Local environment and wildlife
- How visible it might be and how we could screen it using hedgerows and trees
- Any archaeological remains or heritage sites
- The local grid connection
- How the construction could happen as smoothly as possible
If approved, the entire site area would be 60 acres, although only around 30% would actually be occupied by solar panels. The rest would be free to be grazed by sheep, just as it is at the moment.
There is currently around 2.5 GW of energy being generated by solar parks in the UK. To reach government renewable targets by 2020 it is estimated that 10 GW would need to come from solar parks, which would require around 60,000 acres, around 0.1% of UK land. This is less than the area used for non-food crops like linseed, and a fraction of the estimated 660,000 acres currently occupied by golf courses in England alone.
A solar park is essentially temporary and reversible, and once dismantled the site can be easily returned to its former use. During the typical 25-year life of the solar park, the land would be rested from chemicals and fertilisers and over time would revert to organic status.
Below is an indicative layout of the proposed Solar Park at School Farm in addition to a number of key viewpoints from around the proposed site.
The viewpoints below are taken from a number of locations around the proposed site and show the predicted visibility of a solar park at School Farm. The red line represents the extent of the solar park at each viewpoint. You can see where these are by clicking on our viewpoints location map.