ONE of the UK’s largest solar panel farms is set to openNew Forest on an estate famed for its Walkers crisps potatoes.

Nearly 19,000 solar panels have been installed on 30 acres of land on the Cadland Estate at Fawley to generate enough electricity to power 1,000 homes.

Energy firm Anesco struck a deal with the estate to rent land and build and operate the solar farm over the next 25 years.

The five-megawatt solar panel farm, the size of 18 football pitches, has been built around a nine kilometres grid of metal frames. The construction project created 30 jobs.

Energy generated by the solar panels will be fed back into the national grid through Scottish and Southern Electricty under the Government’s Feed in Tariff scheme, which makes payments for energy produced through renewable sources.

The Cadland Estate is currently used for farming wheat, maize and some livestock, as well as potato farming. It supplies leading food manufacturers such as Walkers crisps.