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Huge solar farm for Hampshire
ONE of the UK's largest solar panel farms is taking shape behind the hedge rows of a New Forest estate famed for its Walkers crisps potatoes.
Nearly 19,000 solar panels are will be installed on 30-acres of land on the Cadland Estate at Fawley over the next month.
The five megawatt solar panel farm, the size of 18 football pitches, will harness the sun's rays to generate enough electricity to power 1,000 homes.
Energy firm Anesco has struck a deal with the estate to rent land from the Cadland estate to build and operate the solar farm over the next 25 years.
Anesco has started erecting nine kilometres of frames to support the grid of solar panels. The construction project has created around local 30 jobs.
Energy generated by the solar panels will be fed back into the national grid 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. The Estate is also used for potato farming and supplies leading food manufacturers such as Walkers crisps.
Cadland Estate landowner Aldred Drummond said: “It has been a pleasure working with Anesco on this ground-breaking project. As we move forward with a combination of innovative technologies and ways of working, we will be creating a road map for sustainable farming.”
Adrian Pike, chief executive officer of Reading based Anesco, said it was a “landmark project” for his firm and though to be the largest solar farm in Hampshire.
He said: “Farming, which I know well having grown up on a farm myself, is an industry which can greatly benefit from a broad range of renewable technologies. Helping to improve the sustainability of farming, from an energy consumption point of view, is vital for the future of the industry and is something that many operators and landowners are now considering.”
He added: “This project is not only helping to reduce emissions but is generating green energy for the local area as well as creating jobs and long term revenue streams.”
The project has been backed by SSE, which will but the electricity generated.
SSE financial director Gregor Alexander said: “We're delighted to be working with Anesco to develop one of the largest solar fields in the country. SSE is the UK's largest generator of renewable energy and we fully support projects such as this.”