Land Required for Solar Farms
OFGEM the Gas and Electricity regulator has warned 'the UK could face power blackouts by 2015 unless power generation is significantly increased'
The Government has set targets to increase electricity from renewable sources. Incentives are offered for large scale wind and solar farms.
Susenco works with landowners to deliver these large scale solar farms. On top of the obvious benefits of 'doing your bit' by generating green clean renewable energy a Susenco solar farm provides landowners with a substantial guaranteed rental income for a term of up to 30 years. This diversification enables you to free up resource and get on with farming. No outlay is required by the landowner.
What land is suitable?
15 to 200 acres
Under single ownership or within a trust or pension fund
Well screened from neighbours
Not at risk of extreme flooding
Close proximity to Electricity power lines or an electricity substation
Good road access
Ideally low food production/ low agricultural Grade (3,4 or 5)
Flat or slight incline, preferably to the South
Minimal shading from large trees and buildings
Not divided by Public footpaths/bridleways
Free of any landscape, ecological, archaeological or conservation designation including: SSSI and not in close proximity to; Scheduled monuments, World Heritage sites or Ancient Woodland
What happens next?
How long does the process take?
Dependant on size and constraints the whole process from the initial meeting to the solar farm being built and producing electricity takes on average 12-18 months.
Q &A on solar farms
How many homes can one hectare power?
In a year 1 hectare (2.5 acres) can supply enough energy for about 150 homes. A 30 Hectare farm (around 13MW) could provide all the electricity needs of 4,500 homes.
The UK has 59 million acres of land, 45 million acres is in agricultural production, of which 11million is in arable production. To help meet UK renewable energy targets only 60 thousand acres or 0.1% of UK land area is required.
How long is a typical lease term?
A lease term is normally 27 years.
Will solar farms impact wildlife?
As well as producing renewable energy Susenco believes Solar farms are a great opportunity to improve biodiversity with wild flower meadows and support for a range of birds, bats and local wildlife.
Each Susenco solar farm is planted with a seed mix condusive to bee keeping. On one scheme Susenco has committed to an additional 900m of additional hedging and have worked with Friends of the Earth and ecologists to identify and to encourage the natural local habitats.
Nature and solar complement each other, with insects, sheep and small wild animals living side by side.
Do solar farms compete with food production?
Susenco will only install on poor quality low food production land. In order to retain the lands agricultural status planning permission is applied for a limited term of between 27-30 years, sheep are grazed between the rows of panels.
The aim of a solar farm is to create harmony between, wildlife, food and energy production.
Do solar farms emit any light?
The top edge of the solar panels is 2.2m off the ground. Hedges and natural screening are incorporated into any Susenco solar farm. These hedges grow to an average of 2.4m.
Do Solar Farms emit any noise?
Solar panel technology does not use any moving parts. The ‘inverters’ on solar farms that convert the Direct Current (DC) into AC do emit a humming sound, they are housed in sound-proofed boxing, making them unlikely to be heard.
Is there any interference with existing equipment?
A solar farm does not emit energy radiation and therefore cannot interfere with equipment such as mobile phones, heart monitors, pace makers, hearing aids, or TV reception.
Are CCTV cameras used?
Continuously monitored thermal imaging cameras rather than Optical imaging cameras are used. If a heat source is detected by the remote monitoring service this is identified and if required a security response is triggered.
Do solar farms emit any light?
There are no visible lights on solar parks. Generally security lighting, as used on railway lines is installed, this uses only infra-red light.
Is there any glint or glare?
Solar panels are designed to absorb light and not to reflect light. They pose little risk of glint or glare, and solar panels have been installed on Gatwick Airport, alongside major roads and beside sports car raceways such as the ‘Top Gear’ test track.
Will the security fencing surrounding solar farms make them look industrial?
Security fences are designed to protect the investment made within the solar farm. Deer/stock fencing as seen all over the countryside is the preferred option. However their construction, design, colour and height are all stipulated by the local planning authority in the decision notice. They are generally no more than 2.5 metres in height (8 ft 2 in), lower than the fence surrounding a tennis court.
Are there any increased flood risks?
No, flood risk does not usually increase with the installation of solar farms, and the scheme can include mitigation measures.
What happens at the end of the rental term?
At the end of the term the steel frames are pulled out of the ground and the land is returned back to agricultural farmland. Inevitably at the end of the term the land has had time to recover and is in a better condition that it was at the start of it's life as a solar farm.
Will there be benefits to the local community?
Yes, at Susenco we feel that working with the local community is key to a successful solar farm. It is important that people understand the beneits of each solar farm and buy into (literally!) the need for renewable energy.
In addition to contributing funds to local community projects, Susenco pioneered the first developer lead large scale solar farm within the UK that offered a share scheme to the local community.
Where appropriate we incorporate outdoor teaching areas for local people and school children.
For more details contact: email@example.com