£4.1m Solar farm given green light

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A SOLAR farm has been given the green light in the hope it will earn the county more than £10m over 20 years.

The £4.1m site will spread across 29 acres - 58 football pitches - on the eastern edge of the former Tangmere Airfield.

West Sussex County Council (WSCC) said the farm will generate enough clean and renewable electricity to power more than 1,000 homes when it begins operating in the summer.

The electricity generated will be sold to the National Grid.

The site, which was approved by WSCC’s planning committee on Tuesday, January 13, will have a four-megawatt capacity.

Michael Brown, WSCC cabinet member for finance, said: “We are delighted with the planning decision. This is good news for the economy and the environment in West Sussex and an excellent example of how WSCC is working in new and innovative ways on behalf of residents.

“By investing in solar and other renewable energy sources, we will reduce our carbon emissions and reliance on fossil fuels and support the growth of a thriving low-carbon economy with opportunities for Sussex businesses and the local workforce.”

The solar farm, located next to the nurseries and warehouses on the eastern side of the airfield, will be screened and developers will carry out work to improve habitats for native species.

Sheep will also graze between the solar panels and help to maintain the site.

Planning permission has been granted for 25 years, which will allow the site to return to its natural state if it is no longer needed as a solar farm.

This scheme is the first of its kind to be delivered by Your Energy Sussex, a partnership between local councils and Carillion to promote energy saving and renewable energy.

The partnership will work with residents, businesses and others to carry out its 20 year programme.

It has a range of solar schemes underway, including plans to fit solar panels on social housing, provide low-cost electricity for tenants create warmer homes and reduce carbon emissions;

It also aims to create employment opportunities and support vulnerable residents to help them pay their bills.

WSCC owns the land and had considered other options, such as selling it for £150,000 or leasing it for farming.