Plans unveiled for 19.5 MW PV plant in Hampshire, England

Locals living in the village of Michelmersh, Hampshire, U.K., will next week be given the opportunity to discuss proposals put forward by German solar company Kronos Solar Projects and local project partner Solar Planning to construct a 19.5 MW solar PV plant on the village’s outskirts.

Solar project development company Solar Planning has recently finalized plans for the solar farm, which will consist of approximately 67,000 solar panels to be installed at an 88-acre site on farmland next to Michelmersh Wood.

The landowner has not currently been disclosed, but Solar Planning has revealed that the site would return to agricultural use after the plant’s 25-year operation term expires. Additional details to emerge reveal that the ground mounted installation would be no higher than 2.5 meters, with room beneath the panels to allow vegetation to grow and animals to graze.

"The proposed solar farm will make a significant contribution to helping the U.K. meet its targets for renewable energy and will save thousands of tons of carbon," said a spokesperson for Solar Planning. "Through additional hedgerow planting and the creation of wildflower-rich grassland, the farmland will increase biodiversity on and surrounding the site."

Solar Planning estimate that once operational, the solar farm will be able to generate enough clean energy each year to power 6,000 local homes, mitigating the effects of 8,300 tons of carbon dioxide per annum. The company has embarked on a pro-solar campaign throughout the local villages, distributing leaflets explaining the proposal to each of the 328 homes in the Timsbury and Michelmersh area.

The Solar Planning spokesperson revealed that this location had been identified because “it will have a very limited visual impact and will transform what is not particularly productive agricultural farmland.”

"The site is very well secluded and not visible from any public viewpoint," added the spokesperson. "Local villagers will not benefit directly from the farm, but Solar Planning will be in discussion with the parish council to discuss a community benefit fund as part of the development."

Solar Planning’s founding partner, Adriano Satto, has urged villagers to attend the village exhibition to see for themselves the benefit of inviting commercial solar into their community. Bob Davis, parish council chairman, has echoed these words, stating: "People have to judge for themselves whether [the plant] will have a significant impact on the landscape. They need to look at the full details of what is planned and then make a judgment."

Should the proposals be approved at parish level, Solar Planning will then submit a planning application to Test Valley Borough Council. Once green-lighted, building will commence in the summer.

Meanwhile in the county of Surrey, England, a proposal for a 30,000-panel, 40-acre solar farm near the village of Eashing was rejected this week following consultation with local villagers.