Low Carbon is the developer of this project and we will use the information gathered at the end of the consultation period to advise on the development of the proposed solar farm.
Here is a selection of questions that have been asked relating to solar farm installations/builds.
Low Carbon has carefully identified this site as part of a detailed feasibility process to deliver a large-scale clean energy scheme. Many factors are considered by our specialists when evaluating appropriate sites for development. These include considering the available grid locally as well as various planning and environmental constraints.
Solar offers a low cost, safe and low carbon way of delivering clean power to meet this target as well as reduce the levels of carbon dioxide that are being emitted into the atmosphere by replacing electricity generation from fossil fuels.
The Climate Emergency, the cost of living crisis and the energy crunch are all linked by how we generate, use and supply energy. We urgently need to generate energy from new, low cost, low carbon sources and solar is the lowest cost and quickest to deploy of all energy sources (IRENA, 2022).
Solar is already making a difference, for example between June and August this year, solar often provided up to 25% of UK daytime electricity (National Grid ESO carbon app). The Government’s Energy Security Strategy (2022) proposed a five-fold increase in solar by 2035. This can only be achieved by deploying solar on both land and buildings.
Are there any health risks associated with being in close proximity to solar panels?
Solar panel arrays do emit electric and magnetic fields (EMF) in the same extremely low frequency ranges as electrical appliances and wiring found in most houses and buildings.
The average daily background exposure to magnetic fields is estimated to be around one mG (milligauss – the unit used to measure magnetic field strength), but can vary considerably depending on a person’s exposure to EMF from household electrical devices and wiring.
The lowest exposure level that has been potentially associated with a health effect is three mG. Measurements at three commercial PV arrays in Massachusetts demonstrated that their contributions to off-site EMF exposures were low (less than 0.5 mG at the site boundary), which is consistent with the drop off of EMF strength based on distance from the source (2015, Clean Energy Results).
Will there be visual impacts from Beech Tree Solar Farm?
As part of our ongoing work to determine the design of the project, we are undertaking surveys to ensure the visual impact of the Solar Farm on the local landscape is minimised. This will include screening and the installation of other mitigation measures in the appropriate locations around the perimeter of the land available for the project.
Will Beech Tree Solar Farm use land that could be used from growing crops for food production?
There is always a balance to be found when new development comes forward, with many factors and impacts to consider. Due to its proposed location, Beech Tree Solar Farm will potentially utilise land that could be used for agricultural production. However, the land take involved is minimal in the context of food production across Wiltshire and allows clean energy to be generated at greater scale and efficiency than rooftop alternatives.
Will the solar farm cause any glint and glare?
Solar panels are designed to absorb light and not to reflect it. They pose little risk of glint or glare. Testament to this fact is the installation of solar panels at Gatwick Airport, alongside major roads and beside sports car raceways such as the ‘Top Gear’ test track.
Where will the energy go?
The electricity generated by the solar panels is proposed to connect into the local distribution network operator into Homington Substation via underground cables. From there the power will likely be distributed locally – into Homington Village, west to Britford, and north to Salisbury before joining the main lines into the wider UK transmission lines.
The renewable energy produced from our solar farm connects into a high voltage (HV) cable. As the electricity travels through the local network, it feeds into the low voltage (LV) cables, which power households and commercial sites (e.g. switching on lights / boiling a kettle).
Are solar farms a threat to food security?
The UK Food Security Report (2021) found that “the biggest medium to long term risk to the UK’s domestic production comes from climate change and other environmental pressures such as soil degradation, water quality and biodiversity”.
Solar farms currently account for 0.08% of total land use in the UK (Solar Energy UK 2022). The Government targets for a fivefold increase in solar would result in 0.3% of the UK land area being used by solar (Carbon Brief, 2022). This is the equivalent to around half of the space used by golf courses.