Somerset solar farm approved

August 9, 2013

The development of a 10.2MW solar farm in Somerset has reached approval from the Sedgemoor District Council. 

Spanning an area of 27-hectares, the solar farm will be built on land that was formerly used for farming. It is one of the many solar farm schemes being conducted in the UK, with the construction of such projects welcomed by energy and climate change minister Greg Barker.

Mr Barker recently set an ambitious target to see up to 20GW of electricity created by solar panels by 2020.

The local community were involved heavily when the proposals were submitted, following concerns over the use of land which provides grazing area for sheep and the impact on the area visually. 

However, a community outreach programme revealed that 95 per cent of attendees were in favour of the solar farm project, with the same figure agreeing, or strongly agreeing, that renewable energy is of huge importance to the area. 

The Sedgemoor District Council, upon approving the development, said: “The proposed installation will not have an adverse visual impact or adverse impact upon the landscape, ecology or residential amenity.”

“Existing and proposed planting will minimise the visibility and thus impact of the development from publicly accessible vantage points," the statement continued.

Concerns about the future of solar farm projects have been raised recently, following claims by a number of MPs that increased solar schemes was leading to a "industrialisation" of the UK countryside. 

The benefits for the area should surpass these worries however, as the site is expected to generate enough energy to power 2,500 local homes over the course of a year.

Communities who introduce solar schemes could also soon benefit from increased involvement and profits, with the Energy and Climate Change Committee suggesting that residents should receive a stake in these projects. 

Furthermore, community schemes could also help local residents to increase their awareness of renewable technology, perhaps encouraging them to install solar panels on their own property. 

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