ENERGY to power more than 3,000 homes – almost half of Verwood and Three Legged Cross – could be created if a plan for a 28-hectare solar farm is approved.
Chippenham firm Good Energy Generation Ltd has submitted plans to East Dorset District Council to change the use of Homeland Farm from agriculture to agriculture together with the solar photovoltaic farm spanning four fields.
If planners approve the application, the development will see 47,700 solar panels in rows, supported on metal poles of 2.65m, generating up to 12.5MW of electricity each year – enough to power 3,047 homes.
The plan also includes cabins to contain cabinets and transformers and a cabin to house a substation.
The poly-crystalline solar panels absorb rays from the sun, which are then converted to electricity.
Two anti-reflective coatings are used to reduce reflectivity.
In a Good Energy Design and Access Statement, which is on the district council’s website, it states that “a perceived concern that a solar PV installation could generate nuisance from glint and glare or result in safety issues, for example due to reflection or possible distractions to motorists and aircraft” are “unfounded”, as are worries glare created by the panels could damage eyesight.
It adds: “There are currently about 6,254 dwellings in Verwood and Three Legged Cross, making it one of the highest populated parishes in Dorset.
Supply “Thus the proposed electricity- producing development has the equivalent potential of supplying a significant proportion, about 40 per cent, of the electric to dwellings in the parish.”
Part of the land is being surveyed for Great Crested Newts. If they are found the newts would be collected then reintroduced following completion of the development.
The statement adds: “Habitat creation on the solar site will be included and the two small ponds on the site will be retained and improved. We will be omitting the area around these ponds from any development relating to solar arrays.”
The statement concludes: “This proposed solar development will provide a significant contribution towards Dorset’s renewable energy production, which currently is still well below the 15 per cent target for the year 2020.”
A spokesman for Verwood Parish Council told the Forest Journal that the application had not yet been considered by the council and so it could not comment.
A spokesman for Friends of the Earth said: “Developing the UK’s huge solar power potential is essential for tackling climate change and ending the nation’s reliance on dirty and increasingly costly fossil fuels.
“Large solar developments have an important role to play, but they must avoid our best agricultural land and wildlife habitats – and preferably offer community ownership.”