Solar farm in bid to enlarge
5:00am Friday 13th June 2014 in By Mike Benke, @Michael_Benke
the owners of Roves Farm are asking for permission to alter the capacity of a planned solar farm.
They were initially given permission three years ago to build a 5mw farm next to the visitor centre and farm but this has yet to be constructed.
However, in the time since that permission was granted, panels are now more efficient and so new plans are being considered which would potentially double the output on almost the same amount of land.
If it gets the go-ahead then all the power generated will be fed into the national grid, as there are already panels generating 100kw of electricity which is used to power the visitor centre.
A spokesman said: “We were given permission a number of years ago but since then the panels have become much more efficient.
“We can now produce much more power in the same area so it makes sense to try and change the permission we already have.
“Renewable energy is something which has always been seen as very important at Roves Farm.”
The parcel of land they are hoping to develop lies 500m north west of the main farm house and is just over 23 hectares in size.
Although the new plan would be a slight expansion on the original, the impact of solar farms is negligible once in place and is unlikely to be any different.
Roves Farm has been owned by Rupert and Joanna Burr since 1992.
Speaking at the time of the original application, Rupert said: “I look at places like Honda and the B&Q site and they will obviously need a lot of electricity.
“There are opportunities for us all to work together – those who produce the energy for local needs, we hope to sell this energy in the Swindon area. It is very much a local initiative.
“There will be no noise, no smell, no vehicle movement once it is all up and running and no visual impact. Once people understand this, there won’t be the same controversy that wind turbines would create.”
If the move gets the go ahead it could provide power for more than 1,000 homes over its 25 year life and will be the latest in a number of solar projects in the area.
Permission has been granted for solar farms at South Marston Farm and Sevor Farm, which will supply Honda.
A farm at Castle Eaton has also recently been approved as another solar site and a solar farm at Pentylands , in Highworth, will soon become operational.
It is all part of the council’s ambition for Swindon to produce 100MW of renewable energy by 2020.
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