October 28, 2012

South Hams DC Approves 5 MW Solar Park at Hatchlands Farm near Harberton

South Hams District Council have approved plans for what the Design and Access Statement refers to as

A 5 megawatt solar PV farm on 13.24 hectares of grade 3 agricultural land

at Hatchlands Farm between Harberton and South Brent. This site is literally just down the road from the 8 MW solar PV park at Marley Thatch Farm that was approved by South Hams earlier this year.  Here's what the area between South Brent and Totnes currently looks like on our interactive map and list of large scale solar PV projects in South West England:

Large Scale Solar PV projects between South Brent and Totnes in October 2012

Large Scale Solar PV projects between South Brent and Totnes in October 2012

As you can see, both the sites (with red markers) have convenient high voltage overhead power lines running nearby.  Note there also two green markers, representing prospective solar PV parks at Hazard Farm and the Bidwell Solar Park near Dartington. When taken together with the prospective Totnes Community Wind Farm nearby, this all adds up to getting on for 30 MW (peak!) electricity generating capacity in one small area of South Devon countryside.

Needless to say the Hatchlands Farm planning application repeats the solar PV mantra that:

Devon has some of the highest irradiation levels in the UK – This is crucial to ensure a viable capacity factor, which is the percentage of time the park will be operational (of the total amount of hours in the year)

Now I don't know about you, but I've noticed a conspicuous absence of solar irradiation in Devon this summer, accompanied by a conspicuous presence of wind, rain and floods. Personally I can't help but wonder how many MWh of electrical energy whichever of these projects actually get built will finally have delivered to the UK National Grid by the time they are ultimately decommissioned, and how many tonnes of carbon dioxide they will actually have saved from being emitted into our atmosphere.

Whilst I ponder that conundrum, here's the latest news from the Harbertonford village web site:

The Harbourne river topped the flood defence dam for the first time on 7th July [2012]. The flood defence dam is expected to overflow on average once in forty years, which was today. Harbertonford began to flood, but much later than it otherwise would have. The water subsided by 11 o'clock but did enter some low lying homes.

They have a number of pictures of that event, plus another showing kites flying over Luscombe Cross.

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Comments on South Hams DC Approves 5 MW Solar Park at Hatchlands Farm near Harberton »

October 28, 2012

Kasia @ 7:32 pm

A few companies will become rich overnight. It is a great opportunity! I agree with you solar farms should be build in whole Africa but not in South West England. It is all about money. And in the meantime we are going to pay more and more money for electricity companies who are investing money in such a projects. A vicious circle of manipulation.

October 31, 2012

Jim @ 10:32 am

South West England is certainly not the best place to build a solar park, particularly in view of the current excessively inclement weather!

For more info on how the investment money moves around read how InfraRed Capital acquired 3 Cornish solar parks.

April 5, 2013

Heather Moffett @ 11:12 am

Have I missed something? How did this abomination get through planning, when the wind turbines at Luscombe Cross and Foalesleigh were thrown out due to public opposition? I am still wondering how I managed to miss this application and any news of meetings to oppose?

I did not oppose the turbines, and am all for solar energy panels when on the roofs of existing buildings, but this, to borrow Prince Charles' expression – 'carbuncle on the face' of the South Hams countryside, is visible from miles around, and almost beggars belief that in this area where tourism is such a part of the local economy, this hideous development was granted.

Those residing in sight of the 'solar park' have had their view ruined for presumably, the next 25 years, as have those using the lanes that overlook the development. So this is 'planning'? And solar energy, in a county where we now exclaim if we as much as catch a glimpse of blue sky, never mind sun!! Madness!!

Jim @ 1:31 pm

Hi Heather,

I suspect you've gone a long way towards answering your own question when you mention the "public opposition". You may not have opposed Luscombe Cross, but lots of other people certainly did!

It seems many people consider wind turbines to be far more "hideous developments" than solar PV parks. Are you so close to this one that you would have expected to have been notified by the planners and/or developers?

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