July 9, 2012

Proposed 23.3 Hectare Solar Park at Cofford Farm, Starcross

I attended the Teignbridge District Council planning committee meeting at Forde House in Newton Abbot earlier today. I was there objecting to the proposed Tedburn St. Mary solar PV farm, and the members ultimately voted to refuse the application with a ratio of 3:1. Over coffee after the vote my local district councillor pointed out to me that a request for a screening opinion had been received for a 23.3 hectare solar PV park near Starcross.

Accordingly Cofford Farm is now the latest entry in our ever growing list of local large scale solar PV planning applications to keep an eye on. On a cursory glance through the paperwork it looks as though this one may well be visible from one of our favourite walks past the Mamhead Obelisk.

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Comments on Proposed 23.3 Hectare Solar Park at Cofford Farm, Starcross »

July 20, 2012

John Bird @ 8:13 am

The proposed site for this massive solar park is indeed one of outstanding natural beauty; an area which is a true gem in the rural landscape with a long history of horticulture and agriculture.
If this massive development were to go ahead it would be a total blot on a magnificent landscape, visible for miles around and impacting not only on the immediate environment but scarring a scene presently enjoyed by thousands of local people and tourists alike.
I personally don't 'buy' the principle of solar energy, in consideration of the questionable carbon footprint in manufacturing solar panels versus the electricity they are able to produce – electricity which has its own problem of storage of course!
The motivation behind this proposal can only be, in my view, greed for financial gain.

July 21, 2012

Jim @ 11:37 am

Thanks for your comment John.

It certainly seems as though recent dramatic falls in the price of solar panels have made these large scale solar PV parks financially attractive to a variety of "investors". Apart from the visual impact, personally I'm even more concerned about the potential loss of grade 2 agricultural land, both at Starcross and Shillingford.

For an in depth look at "the numbers" behind renewable energy in general, and solar PV in particular, I highly recommend taking a look at David MacKay's "Sustainable Energy – without the hot air", which is freely available online for both browsing and/or download. David is currently Chief Scientific Advisor to the Department of Energy and Climate Change.

Regarding what he calls the "mythconception" about the energy needed to construct solar panels, David says that:

The energy yield ratio (the ratio of energy delivered by a system over its lifetime, to the energy required to make it) of a roof-mounted, grid-connected solar system in Central Northern Europe is 4 for a system with a lifetime of 20 years, and more than 7 in a sunnier spot such as Australia. Wind turbines with a lifetime of 20 years have an energy yield ratio of 80.

Jim

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