Rural Essex may be getting 7 new solar parks to help boost the national grid with new green energy. The parks will be run by several companies, including Lightsource, Green Switch Solutions, Bluefield Energy and Hive Energy Ltd. The 7 sites will provide over 300,000 new solar panels which will provide thousands of Essex homes with green energy.
Several of the sites are on farmland. In recent decades the government has come up with various initiatives to encourage alternative use of farmland to help keep farmers in business while reducing food production.
Solar parks may be a great option for many farmers – farms are essentially fields to harness the sun’s energy to fuel the population – converting sunlight to electrical energy is a form of farming in itself. Essex is one of the sunniest counties in the UK so it makes sense to invest more in solar panels than wind farms.
If all proposals go ahead Essex will have around 315,000 solar panels which will provide power for about 20,000 homes. It is hoped that within the next 7 years the UK will get around 15% of all its energy from green / renewable sources.
Lightsource Solar Parks:
- Eastern Lodge, Little Easton. There will be 44,000 solar panels run by Lightsource.
- Beckingham Road, Great Totham. A 10 Mega Watt site, which is probably around 40,000 solar panels. It was to be 15MW but received locak opposition.
- Rejected: Little Braxsted. 62,000 solar panels. This was rejected by Maldon District Council in June 2013 and the proposal subsequently withdrawn.
- Jacklett’s Farm, Bicknacre. 44,000 solar panels covering 23 hectares of farm land.
Green Switch Solutions
- General’s Farm, Boreham. 22,000 solar panels.
- Sandon Quarry. 66,000 solar panels
- Wick’s Farm, Burnham on Crouch. 35,000 solar panels
Hive Energy Ltd.
- Highfields Farm, Kelvedon. 60,000 solar panels on farm land. Has been approved by Colchester Borough Council.
Currently some of the parks are in the planning process.
- Eastern Lodge is at the consultation stage.
- General’s Farm, Sand Quarry required an environmental impact assessment.
Lightsource Video About Solar Panels on Set-Aside Farming
Watch a Solar Park Get Built
Case Study – Lightsource Landowner
Richard Buckpitt talks about his experience with solar energy on his farm. He is using solar panels alongside traditional farming.