Frequently Asked Questions
What is solar power?
Solar power is one of the most well-established and cheapest renewable energy technologies. Renewable energy is an alternative to sources of power from fossil fuels, such as coal and gas, which are being phased out by the Government because of the carbon emissions they produce. Renewable energy produces “greener” electricity because it does not emit carbon into the atmosphere. Solar parks, also referred to as solar farms, generate clean electricity at scale, usually to feed into the National Grid.
How does a solar park work?
Energy from the sun is collected by solar photovoltaic (PV) panels by allowing particles of light to knock electrons free from atoms to generate a flow of electricity. These are finished in blue/black and are designed to maximise the capture of solar energy. They produce no noise or vibration and operate even in cloudy conditions. The energy from the sun is converted through inverters and transformers to the form of electricity supplied by the National Grid. Once installed, solar parks (also referred to as “solar farms”) require little maintenance and the land between and around the solar panels can continue to be used for grazing animals.
How many homes can this scheme supply with electricity
The proposed solar park will generate enough electricity to power over 1800 homes a year within the Borough, or enough to fully charge 157, 178 Nissan Leaf electric cars.
What about carbon savings?
Over the 40 year operational lifetime of the development, it is estimated that approximately 58,000 tons of carbon will be saved.
Carbon dioxide (CO2) is a major contributor to global warming, causing climate change. That is why the Government has committed to reduce carbon emissions.
Why has this site been chosen?
The site was selected in reflection of the primary site criteria for solar parks, which are:
- A suitable electrical connection – it must be technically and economically viable to connect the site to the local electrical distribution system;
- There is a suitable solar resource – taking into account site orientation and absence of excessive shading;
- Land is available - the landowner supports the development and is prepared to enter into an arrangement to accommodate the proposal;
- Site sensitivities and potential impacts of development – there must be no clear barriers to potential development and a relatively low impact on the local area.
- Road access – there must be adequate access to the site from the national road system for delivery and construction purposes;
What is battery storage?
In simple terms battery storage works by charging up with electricity from the grid or directly from renewable energy sites at times of low demand on the network, then can respond by discharging the stored electricity back to the grid when demand is high.
The most commonly used technology is lithium-Ion (Li-Ion) battery cells; thousands of small cells are packaged into modules and arranged into racks within specially adapted containers. Multiple containers are connected to Power Conversion Systems to convert the electricity into the form most suitable for storing or exporting to the grid.
Why are batteries needed?
To meet our Net Zero targets there will be much more renewable energy on the grid. We will also be making use of Electric Vehicles (EVs) and the electricity network needs to adapt to meet our changing use of energy.
Renewable energy generation, in particular solar and wind, is intermittent, meaning energy is not always generated when it is needed. Storage facilities efficiently balance supply and demand on the national grid network and thus without energy storage, the transition to clean energy is not possible. Batteries also have the ability to instantly respond to a drop in generation or a spike in demand. This is otherwise done with 'operating reserve', fossil fuel stations that sit as backup to prevent outages but most of the time are not supplying, creating emissions and losses on the system, such as diesel generators, for example. Reducing these losses by deploying more storage, means we will need less overall generation to meet our supply requirements and speed up the transition to a low carbon grid. In addition, deployed widely across the country, the flexibility battery storage brings will reduce the need for costly network reinforcements.
Will there be disruption from construction?
Work during the construction phase will be controlled through conditions placed on a planning permission. These generally include matters such as the hours of working, routes to be used by vehicles, and storage of materials during construction. Following construction and commissioning of the installation, very little maintenance is required, and this would generally only need a visit using a van the size of a Transit van or smaller. Construction will take roughly four months to complete
How long will the solar park be operational for?
The development (including the battery storage) will be designed to operate for around 40 years. At the end of the project’s lifetime, all equipment will be removed from the site. The decommissioning process takes approximately the same time as the installation process. Equipment removed is reused or recycled and the land returned to agricultural use.
Visit our GET INVOLVED page to have your say as part of our pre-application consultation.