West Norfolk solar farm scheme 'could power thousands of homes', developers claim
A new solar farm in West Norfolk could provide cleaner energy to thousands of new homes, according to developers.
Plans to install panels, battery storage facilities and a substation on a 56 hectare site around a mile from the village of Walpole St Peter have been submitted to West Norfolk Council.
And the developers, Walpole Green Ltd, say they have already made significant changes to the scheme in response to local feedback.
The application envisages the site, which is already close to another solar farm, being used to generate electricity for the National Grid for at least 35 years.
The land would be returned to agricultural use when the site is decommissioned, while it is also envisaged that sheep will be allowed to graze on the land while the facility is operational.
Documents submitted as part of the application claim the site would meet the annual energy needs of nearly 9,000 family homes.
They also claim the scheme would reduce carbon emissions associated with power generation by the equivalent of more than 5,000 cars on the roads a year.
The report said: "The development will provide a reliable source of clean renewable energy which will be supplied to domestic and commercial consumers via the national grid network."
Underground cables would be used to transfer the power generated from the site to its nearby substation, while the batteries contained in around 20 separate storage containers would be used to store energy at times of low demand and enable more to be provided at peak periods.
The application follows a public consultation exercise earlier this year, in which the developer says a majority of attendees were supportive of the plan.
However, the documents revealed the size of the application site has been more than halved in response to local feedback, while panels will also be positioned further away from people's homes.
They added: "The Applicant listened to the community, and proactively sought its involvement in the design development of the proposals.
"A number of the issues raised by residents and local landowners have informed amendments to the submitted scheme, the most significant being a reduction in the proposed development area from the 125 hectares consulted upon to the 56-hectare site which is the subject of the planning application."
West Norfolk Council has indicated it hopes to reach a decision on the proposal by Christmas.