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A LOCAL solar power company is looking to develop a solar farm on land east of Melksham that would generate enough electricity to power the whole town.
The Sandridge Solar Farm would have the capacity to generate approximately 40MWp of clean power, which is enough electricity for around 12,000 average UK households. This would power the equivalent of all of the properties in Melksham. The solar farm would save up to 420,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions over the 26-year lifetime of the project.
Sandridge Solar Power Ltd has begun discussions with Wiltshire Council on various environmental aspects of the project and the community benefits.
The site has been identified by the solar company as a good location for a solar farm because it is well screened by existing vegetation; it is gently sloping and currently of predominantly low ecological value; it is in a relatively sparsely populated area, not immediately adjacent to any properties; pylons cross the site – which means it is close to a potential grid connection point; it is exposed to good levels of sunlight and has good access to the A3102.
The solar farm would consist of panels mounted onto a series of metal frames with support posts simply driven into the ground and the site will not be taken out of agricultural use or food production – sheep can continue to graze the land, around the solar panels, albeit at a slightly lower stocking density.
The solar farm would be expected to take around four months to build.
St.John Hughes of Sandridge Solar Power said, “We’re inviting the local community to come and view our initial plans, meet the team behind it and ask us any questions. We’ll be asking visitors to fill in a questionnaire at the exhibition and we will carefully consider the feedback we receive as we progress the plans further.
“We’re also keen to discuss how the solar farm could bring benefits to the area, both through the community fund we’re proposing and also with the use of local services, suppliers and accommodation during the construction phase.”
A public consultation process has been launched to engage local residents and stakeholders in the planning process and to encourage feedback on the solar farm proposal. An invitation has been sent to local residents for the public exhibition that is being held later this month.
Comments received will be considered before the application for the solar farm is finalised. The public consultation period will run to the 1st of November to allow time for this.
The public exhibition will take place at Melksham Town Hall on Wednesday 23rd October between 3.00pm and 8.00pm. A preview of this exhibition will be open between 2.00pm and 3.00pm which is open to the public.
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