Land Required for Solar Farms
OFGEM the Gas and Electricity regulator has warned that we 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. No outlay is required by the landowner. This enables you to free up resource, get on with farming and diversify elsewhere.
What land is suitable?
20 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?I
If you are considering a solar farm and think you have a suitable Susenco solar farm site please email; firstname.lastname@example.org
Susenco will then carry out a desktop study to further investigate the land. As soon as the land’s suitability is confirmed by Susenco’s technical team a site visit is arranged to discuss the options available to you.
Developing a solar farm is a costly process, investigations, consultations and studies are required throughout the process.
Once it is confirmed that the land is suitable Susenco and the landowner agree Heads of Terms and enter into an agreement that includes an exclusivity agreement that also gives authority to Susenco to contact the Electrical Grid Distribution Network Operator to ascertain that the local electrical network has capacity to take the power that the Solar Farm Generates. In parallel the local planning authority is consulted and When grid capacity is confirmed and secured an option to lease the land is entered into. The lease term is between 27-30 years.
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.
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. It is important that people understand the beneits of each solar farm and buy into (literally!) the need for renewable energy.
Q &A on solar farms
How many homes can one hectare power?
1 hectare will generate up to 440kW of power. The total energy supplied over a year depends on how much sun is available, and this can vary from 100 to 900 kWh of energy per kW of capacity. The average home uses 3,300 kWh (or units) of electricity a year. So in a year 1 hectare can supply enough energy for about 150 homes. A 30 Hectare farm (around 13MW) could provide all the electricity needs of 4,500 homes.
Do solar farms compete with food production?
The UK has 59million acres of land, 45million acres is in agricultural production, of which 11million is in arable production.
To help meet UK renewable energy targets- would only use 60 thousand acres or 0.1% of UK land area.
Susenco will only install on poor quality low food production land. The aim is to create harmaony between food and energy produation. Sheep are grazed animal between the rows of panels, it is still possible to rear pheasants and each farm is planted with a seed mix condusive to bee keeping.
Will it will be possible to see the panels over the hedges?
Hedges and screening will be incorporated into any Susenco solar farm in order to reduce the land visual impact.
These hedges will grow to an average of 2.4m.The top edge of the solar panels will be 2.2m off the ground.
Will solar farms impact wildlife?
Wildlife will be disturbed during the 8-16 week construction period and it is likely they will be displaced to surrounding areas. However it is also likely that they will return as the food source will remain. However, additional measures will then enhance biodiversity. On one scheme Susenco has committed to an additional 900m of additional hedging.
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.
Do solar farms emit any noise?
There is hardly any noise emitted from a solar farm. Solar PV technology does not use any moving parts, and in many cases nature and solar complement each other, with insects, sheep and small wild animals living side by side. There are a number of ‘inverters’ on solar farms to convert DC into AC and these machines do emit a humming sound, but they are housed in sound-proofed boxing, making them unlikely to be heard.
Are CCTV cameras used?
While CCTV cameras are often used to secure solar farm projects, the cameras in solar farms are mounted to face inwards into the solar park and not outside.
Do solar farms emit any light?
There are no visible lights on solar parks. Security lighting, as used for railway lines, generally uses only infra-red light.
Will the security fencing surrounding solar farms make them look industrial?
Security fences are designed to protect the investment made within the solar farm and 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), which is 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.
Will solar farms cause 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 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.
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.
We believe a solar farm is an opportunity to combine agriculture and energy whilst enhancing local habitats and biodiversity. Where appropriate we incorporate outdoor teaching areas for local people and school children.
For more details email; email@example.com