Plan is for a second and larger solar farm at Morchard Road

Friday 23rd January 2015 12:00 am

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THE public is being invited to comment on plans for a second and much larger solar farm near Morchard Road.

Lightsource Renewable Energy, the UK's leading solar energy generator, plans to install a new solar farm on the agricultural land between Morchard Bishop and Down St Mary, adjoining the Tarka Line and A377 towards Lapford.

The company says plans for the project are at an early stage and it is hoping to utilise local input to help shape the final proposals before they are submitted to Mid Devon District Council.

It says the proposed 5MWp solar farm, on land at Sharland Farm, would be capable of generating enough clean, renewable energy to power 1,400 homes - equivalent to taking 560 family cars off the road.

To enable people to find out more about the plan, the company is inviting local residents to a community information evening to be held in Morchard Bishop Memorial Hall, from 5.30pm to 8pm on Thursday, January 29.

Lightsource Renewable Energy says generating locally-sourced, clean energy means the UK can reduce its reliance on importing expensive fossil-fuel supplies and also opens up opportunities to support local businesses and agricultural traditions.

It says the rows of solar panels will be widely spaced and raised so that grass can establish throughout the site, including the area underneath the panels.

It says sheep will continue to graze the site and adds that the solar farm will provide a stable income stream to support the rest of the farm business.

In addition, Lightsource explains that it is also keen to involve local contractors in the construction and on-going maintenance of the site.

Conor McGuigan, the firm's planning and development director, said: "Solar farms are able to produce both clean energy and food simultaneously.

"This is largely due to the fact that the infrastructure of the solar farm actually takes up less than 30 per cent of the allocated area, leaving the rest of the space as open grassland.

"Consequently, small livestock, such as sheep, chickens and geese, can be easily accommodated on site.

"It's this ability to have a dual-use of land that makes solar energy such a viable prospect for our future energy needs."

Lightsource say that the topography of the site and thick vegetation around the site means that the site is well screened from the adjacent A377


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