Solar farm will be ‘low impact’

PUBLISHED: 10:00 20 January 2013

Solar power panels.

Solar power panels.

Robin Mews

PROPOSALS for a £1.1million solar power panel site in Somerset were presented to the community last week.

The Wedmore Community Power Company is in the process of applying for planning permission to Sedgemoor District Council to create the two solar installations on land at Mill Farm in Wedmore.

The company held a public meeting to present its plans to villagers, which explained that the rows of solar panels, which will be roughly one metre above the ground, will power the whole village.

Founding member John Whiten said: “This is a low impact development which will take four to six weeks to install.

“The panels are removable, so there is no use for cement or concrete and they could last for 35-40 years.

“We could then pull them out and the field would be left how it was before we started.

“We do not want to take good farm land from the farmers.”

Robin Mewes, who is also one of the company’s founding members, said the firm has identified two flat fields with little shading for the million-pound development, with the blessing of landowners.

It has also set aside a marketing and launch budget of £50,000 and a reserves pot of £75,000.

The panels will be recyclable and hedges and fences will be put up to protect the site and make it less visually obtrusive.

John added: “The panels will produce almost one million kilowatts of energy a year, which could run about 1,000 microwaves.”

The company’s aim is also to create a co-operative to enable villagers to invest in the project.

Robin said: “We want to provide a community benefit and residents will be able to invest and have the option of withdrawing their share, which would be given back to the board.

“People can become members without being actively involved in the business. There is also a projected return to investors and the chance of a community grant.”

The Wedmore Community Power Company will hold another meeting to give out more details next month.

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