Solar farm may be built in Chailey

Solar panels
Solar panels

A consultation event will be held in Chailey about building a solar farm at Tomkins Farm.

It will take place at Chailey Parish Hall on Tuesday March 31 from 4pm to 7pm where residents will have the chance to comment on the plan and find out more.

Hadstone Energy’s project manager Emma Siddons said: “Tomkins Farm is a great example of a renewable energy development - it makes excellent use of low grade land and has low overall visual impact.

“We conducted an Early Stage Consultation back in 2013 with the local community and as a result Hadstone Energy has made significant concessions by reducing the size of the development and by introducing various ecological enhancements.

“We are pleased to now present our revised proposals to the community at a public consultation being held at Chailey Parish Hall between 4pm and 7pm on Tuesday March 31.

“We hope that local people will attend to hear about our new proposals and to let us hear their views.

“We would also be pleased to hear from any community “green” projects that are looking for support, or from local businesses that can provide services to the development team.”

Hadstone Energy said the farm was an appropriate site because it was low grade with severe cropping limitations.

It is currently grazed by sheep but this could continue if the land is turned into a solar farm, the company said.

Hadstone explained the surrounding landscape, woods and hedgerows would mean the solar farm would not be very visible.

It is estimated construction would take between 16 and 20 weeks to complete, with about 75 heavy goods vehicles and 80 medium sized goods vehicles, resulting in an average of two large vehicle movements a day.

Experts at the energy company said there would not be any noise from the solar farm and added that solar panels were designed to absorb light, not reflect it.

The public right of way would also remain in place. The solar farm would have a lifespan of about 25 years before being returned to its original state.

It will power the equivalent of 1,400 households and will provide 5MW of electricity, using under 20,000 solar panels.

Hadstone Energy’s earlier proposals were previously for a 8MW solar farm with 35,400 panels.

It said the reductions were in response to concerns raised about the effect on users of two public rights of way which run near to the site.

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Hadstone Energy argues the proposed solar farm has low visual impact from the road network and homes.

It will make a full planning application to Lewes District Council which will go to the planning committee for a decision.

Residents will be able to comment on the scheme and make their views known to the district council.

Solar farms are popular in Germany, China, USA, Canada and Spain.

The largest solar farms currently operating put out 300MW of energy.

The first solar farm was built in California in 1981.