‘Exciting’ community solar farm project proposed in Lewes district

A proposal for a community solar farm, which would help Lewes District Council meet its target of becoming carbon net zero by 2030, is due to be considered by Lewes District councillors this week.

Monday, 22nd March 2021, 12:34 pm
Solar panels. Photo: Pixabay

The solar farm, which has been proposed by not-for-profit enterprise OVESCO, would have the potential to generate up to around 14,000 MW of clean electricity every year.

Subject to a feasibility study, due-diligence and extensive public engagement, a council investment of around £3m could lead to the solar farm supplying up to four per cent of the district’s annual electricity.

Councillor Matthew Bird (pictured), Cabinet Member for Sustainability, said: “As highlighted in our recently launched Sustainability and Climate Change Strategy, community renewable energy opportunities have a major role to play in reaching our goal of net zero carbon emissions by 2030.

“This exciting solar farm project is just one of many local opportunities we are looking to support and safeguard a clean and resilient supply of energy for our communities.”

Ovesco has secured £40,000 of grant funding from the Government’s Rural Community Energy Fund to fund feasibility and initial development work and is applying for a further £100,000 in funding to cover the cost of further work required prior to a full planning submission.

The company has so far delivered over 5,000 MW via community solar panels on local schools and businesses.

Councillor Zoe Nicholson, Cabinet Member for Finance & Assets, said: “Developing a local solar energy supply with the community would be a big step to demonstrate what can be done to secure a long term green energy supply.

“We are committed to doing more to make our area a leader in sustainable local energy generation and use this to help meet our sustainability targets, create jobs and underpin our community wealth building objectives.”

Cabinet councillors will consider the proposal at a meeting on Thursday.