August 5, 2013

Lightsource Make Second Application for Bowhay Farm Solar Park

Earlier this year Lightsource Renewable Energy withdrew their application to construct a  54 acre, 10.7 MW solar photovoltaic park at Bowhay Farm between Dunchideock and Ide in Devon. However they have now applied for permission to construct a somewhat smaller scheme on the same site. According to the design and access statement that has just appeared on the Teignbridge District Council web site :

The application area is 13.34ha in size being formed of two adjacent fields. It is proposed to install solar modules covering approximately 4.18ha. The reason the proposed solar panels and associated infrastructure will cover only 31.3% of the site is that sufficient gaps must be provided between the rows of panels, to avoid one row shading another, and sufficient setbacks need to be provided from boundary vegetation, particularly on the southern boundary to avoid shading. The design of the proposed Layout Plan has been prepared to maximise energy production within the available area of land, taking into account the site specific constraints.

The purpose of the development is to convert daylight into electricity. This solar development will have a generation capacity of approximately 5.73 megawatts (MW), which is enough to power 1790 typical homes, and save approximately 3 million kg in CO2 emissions per annum – the equivalent of removing 670 standard cars from the road each year.

This application is a reduced proposal to that originally submitted in October 2012 (subsequently withdrawn January 2013). Key changes include a reduced size (10.7MW to 5.7MW, a reduction of three fields to two) and a reduction in the height of the panels from 2.4m above ground to 1.54m above ground.

Amongst other highlights in the lengthy document are the following:

The solar development involves a non-agricultural use of agricultural land. The solar farm is a passive installation that will harvest the sun’s energy to generate electricity for human consumption – aside from the obvious visual difference the outcome is little different to growing crops of rapeseed, poplar and willow for biofuel rather than food. The site is classified as Agricultural Land Grade 2.


There are no designated heritage assets within the subject site. The presence of scheduled buildings and the ancient monument in the general vicinity of the site are noted, however in the main will not be impacted on by the proposal (due to being screened by topography or existing vegetation), or can be mitigated through planting. Those assets with continuing views into the site (particularly the Haldon Belvedere), are located a considerable distance away. This results in any views being restricted in comparison to the wider panorama as viewed from these locations, which has the effect of reducing the visual impact of the development.

whilst under the heading of "community benefits" Lightsource list:

The local area will benefit from a reduction in their carbon footprint. The electricity generated by the solar farm will enter the local grid network and will be utilised at the closest points of demand, meaning that more of the electricity used by local communities will be from a clean renewable source, as opposed to from the burning of fossil fuels.

There are likely to be work opportunities generated for local contractors during construction and on-going operation of the solar farm. The specialist Engineering, Procurement and Construction firms engaged by Lightsource to undertake detailed design and construction of our solar farms, typically employ local contractors as part of their work force during the construction period.

Lightsource also typically engages local contractors to undertake general maintenance activities on site, as well as employing regionally based Operations and Maintenance staff to manage the operational solar farms.

All in all it doesn't sound as though Lightsource Renewable Energy have signed up to the Solar Trade Association's "10 commitments" yet, or have read the new solar PV planning guidelines from the Department for Communities and Local Government. Perhaps they haven't heard any of Greg Barker's recent speeches either? Here's another one of those:

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