Is solar the future for the Chichester district?


A SOLAR farm at Hunters Race is generating enough energy to power 3,300 homes.

And plans are in the pipeline for another solar farm in Sidlesham which could power more than 3,600 homes.

The new solar farm at Hunters Race, Lavant, was connected to the mains this month, and the plot, which is the size of 20 football pitches (15 hectares), is now up and running.

When asked about the village’s view on the solar farm, chairman of Lavant Parish Council Ian Hutton said: “There are mixed feelings in the village.”

However, Nick Reynolds, who is putting together Lavant’s neighbourhood plan, said: “We have no option but to encourage renewable energy.

“It is sunken and by 
the time the hedges have grown around it, people will not see it.

“We do have to accept the use of green energy and renewable energy and this is a consequence of that and on that basis, I feel it has been assimilated in the least-damaging way possible.

“You cannot say no to everything. I personally feel it is fine.

“I do feel the village as such should be benefiting from some of the energy that is generated, as there does not seem to be a benefit to the village.” The company which owns the site, Foresight Solar Farms Ltd, is the biggest UK solar-focused investment firm, and took on the plot in February.

Previously, the land was a disused gravel quarry.

The energy generated from the solar panels is distributed by energy company SSE.

Another plan for a solar farm in Sidlesham is set to be decided by Chichester District Council in the next few months.

There are proposals for a ‘solar park’ at Baker’s Farm by renewable energy developer Solafields.

The firm said, if developed, the solar farm would have the capacity to generate enough renewable energy to power around 3,686 average households and save up to around 5,200 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year.

A solar farm in Oving was built two years ago by the Woodhorn Group, producing enough energy to power 1,400 homes via the National Grid plus the business’ workshops and grain stores on the site.