June 18, 2012

Lightsource Planning 54 Acre Solar Farm in My Back Yard

I've no idea as yet who put it there, but yesterday I discovered this leaflet in my porch:

Notice of proposed 54 acre 12.3 MW solar farm near Shillingford Abbot

Notice of proposed 54 acre 12.3 MW solar farm near Shillingford Abbot

This morning I checked out the planning reference number quoted at the bottom, and quite a few relevant documents can be found on the Teignbridge Council website.  It seems at this stage that Lightsource Renewable Energy have requested the council's opinion on whether a future planning application for a proposed 54 acre, 12.3 MW solar farm just outside Shillingford Abbot near Exeter will require an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA for short). As far as I can tell from a quick scan of the documents the council's opinion is that in this case an EIA won't be needed.

All this is of huge interest to me personally since my "day job" involves designing components for "smart grids", amongst other things. In addition (and also amongst other things!) I'm concerned about climate change, I'm concerned about energy security, I'm concerned about food security and I'm concerned about our local archaeological heritage.  If any of this is of interest or concern to you too please feel free to add your comments below.

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Comments on Lightsource Planning 54 Acre Solar Farm in My Back Yard »

June 18, 2012

Jim Jim @ 3:25 pm

P.S. I've now made a few phone calls. It seems the person I need to speak to at Teignbridge is out of the office all day. However I have received this response to my enquiries from Lightsource:

1. The site will continue to have an agricultural use. We have specifically had the site designed to allow for sheep grazing between and below the panels. So the site will have a dual use, sheep grazing, and harvesting of the sun's energy to generate electricity.

2. Construction will take approximately 12 weeks, and require around 70 truck deliveries of equipment (that is around 1 per day, but up to 3-4 deliveries on some days)

Evidently Solar PV in the UK is not dead yet!

Jim Jim @ 5:06 pm

P.P.S. Lightsource have kindly given me permission to make available an online version of their invitation to the public information evening for their proposed solar farm at Bowhay Farm. Apparently the physical version was distributed "to around 150 properties (i.e. everyone within 1km of the site)". That didn't include me, however!

If you're interested in attending the event it's on Wednesday evening at 7:30 PM in Shillingford St. George village hall.

Dudley Swain @ 9:59 pm

The concept of generating power from the sun is fine. In fact quite a good idea. However, the location of panels, the government policy and subsidy, the NFU apparent policy that land used for solar income is better than for food, the long term (end of life) predicament – well all these make me realise I am not well informed and need to know more before I finally form my view on the massive, lucrative, perhaps obstructive energy generator.

I rather prefer Tim Schmidt's (Eden No. 1) geo-thermal approach. It's always there regardless of wind, sun or daytime. Really sound and totally unobtrusive,…….but no government grants?

June 20, 2012

Jim Jim @ 7:19 am

Hi Dudley,

Thanks very much for your comment. If you've seen the econnexus home page you'll know that getting the food/fuel balance right is of great concern to me too.

Like you I am trying to assemble a lot more evidence before coming to any firm conclusions. Perhaps we'll all be much the wiser after this evening's meeting?

For the moment however, it's certainly not clear to me a priori that putting 12.3 MW of large scale Solar PV on 54 acres of grade 2 agricultural land is a particularly wise use of taxpayers money or the land in question.


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