DEVELOPERS have been given the go ahead to build a huge new solar farm in the Hampshire countryside.

It will cover 40 acres of farm land, consist of more than 25,500 solar panels and create enough energy to power 1,800 homes.

Building work on the 200,000 sq m facility at Burnetts Lane, West End, may even be completed in March, according to energy firm Solarcentury.

It will generate 7.3mw of electricity and a small substation built on the land will enable that to be distributed on the National Grid.

A footpath that currently crosses the proposed site is set to be diverted to the northern boundary of the site, at Chalcroft Farm.

News of the planning go ahead comes just weeks after proposals were announced for a 200,000 panel facility near Fareham - which would be the country's biggest solar farm.

German company IB Vogts have come up with a distinctive Schnauzer-shaped design for the farm, which is expected to cost £40m.

Eastleigh Borough Council Leader, Keith House, said of the Chalcroft Farm scheme: “I'm pleased to see the planning approval for the Solar Farm at Chalcroft, and I look forward to this new addition to Eastleigh's growing renewable energy generation infrastructure.

"The Borough prides itself on leading the agenda on tackling climate change and the Chalcroft Solar Farm will contribute to reaching our ambitious target to reduce CO2 from the Borough by a third by 2020.”