Large-scale solar farm proposed for East Devon farm could power 15k homes

A solar farm the size of 79 football pitches has been proposed for an area of East Devon between the village of Clyst Hydon and hamlet, Lower Tale.

Becca Gliddon eastdevonnews.co.uk 

The plans, put forward by Lightrock Power who develops large-scale solar farms, cover an area of around 64 hectares – approximately158 acres – which could power the equivalent of 15,000 homes or 19,000 electric vehicles.

The developer said it will hold an online public exhibition in late spring in a bid to consult the community on the application.

The solar farm developer has launched an online information point for early feedback, which can also be given by phone, letter and email.

Lightrock Power said the Paytherden Solar Farm project was in the ‘early phases’ of development and was currently ‘being planned and assessed’ by its team.

Chris Sowerbutts, Lightrock Power founder and director, said: “We are keen to talk about our proposals for Paytherden solar farm.

“We would really like the local community to be involved in the process leading up to any planning application being submitted, and would appreciate early feedback and views.”

The farm where Paytherden is proposed to go is managed by Jon and Louise Burrough, who believe using the land to produce green energy will benefit the community and environment.

The couple said: “Climate change is the biggest threat our species has ever faced and everyone must make an effort.

“As custodians of a small part of the countryside, we’re in a unique position to play our part.

“Electricity use over the next thirty years is set to double, with half of all cars on the roads likely to be electric in the next five years.

“Therefore, the need to produce green energy to meet with this demand is crucial.”

Mr and Mrs Burrough added: “We are committed to caring for the environment and this is reflected in the way we farm.

“Over the past forty years we’ve planted ten-thousand trees here, including native species, orchards and a butterfly wood.

“We’ve also farmed organically for over twenty years, enabling more birds and bees to thrive.

“Not only does using our farm to produce green energy fit in with our ethos, it has enormous benefits for the wider community and the environment as a whole.”

4 thoughts on “Large-scale solar farm proposed for East Devon farm could power 15k homes

  1. What bad timing!
    The Prime Minister announced (6th October) that, in future, off-shore wind turbines will provide for the green energy needs of all homes in the country. How foolish it would be to trash acres of food productive farmland when Government has announced this policy change. The Green Party puts offshore wind at the top of its list of low carbon energy production. The high-cost solar power station proposal comes at the wrong time – and certainly would be in the wrong place! There is a balance to strike between the need to secure our energy future while preserving the UK’s natural environment for future generations. Offshore wind is an important clean energy source for the UK and can provide a considerable source of ‘home-grown’ energy with minimal CO2 emissions. The energy produced is also significantly cheaper per kW than solar. Energy generation is now low carbon and low carbon energy has helped the UK to almost eliminate the use of coal for electricity generation over the last 10 years. The carbon intensity of generation decreased by 55% between 2008 and 2018, from 535 gCO2/kWh to 245 gCO2/kWh. That reflects a shift away from coal towards gas and renewable generation – and offshore wind is set to supply low carbon energy to all UK homes by 2030.

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    • There is no shortage of agricultural land in East Devon – it is just very badly used and abused. Field after field is being used to grow maize. Maize is not grown to feed humans. Most of it is grown for use in power plants or as an animal feed. The damage to the soil is ruining the environment and the wash off of topsoil is ruining our rivers. The majority of cattle are reared indoors on soya based feeds imported into the country. Much of our veg is grown in industrial scale green houses.

      Drive around East Devon and 90% of the fields are empty unless they are being used to grow maize. No animals in them and no crops in them. They are simply maintained so that the land owners get the farm subsidies. The idealistic “Ladybird Book of Farming” image is a thing of the past – dead and gone by the end of the 1970’s. In the 2020’s farm land is now a factory or a grant earning cash cow for land owners. Hopefully the new environmental bill will reward the farmers that care for the land in a way that benefits the environment. Real farmers want to farm, not run industrial empires and so hopefully things will be changing over the next few years.

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    • Few would dispute your critique of modern (intensive) farming methods, and I hope most can share the view that many “farmers want to farm, not run industrial empires and so hopefully things will be changing over the next few years.”
      Looking ‘sideways’ for a moment. Studies have shown that of four future scenarios, ranging from high investment in nature recovery to high agricultural intensification, the highest economic returns are found by investing in nature. Reduction in people’s emotional connection to nature . Covering acres with steel and glass, and fencing it off depletes ‘nature’ and would create an industrial landscape.

      Nature depletion is also making it harder for people to connect with nature. Forming an emotional connection with nature and retaining memories of the enjoyment of nature are important factors in maintaining mental health. It is also an important determinant in forming pro-environmental behaviour, essential for the wellbeing of future generations.

      Good quality natural landscapes, which have a high ecological value, have also been shown to reduce stress and sadness, lift poor mood, and make us feel better, with the relationship being strongest for anxiety disorder and depression.

      In terms of physical health, our use of our natural world, particularly greenspace, is associated with lower rates of disease, reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. People who frequently visit high-quality green space are more likely to be physically active and less likely to be overweight or obese. The health benefits of green spaces have been known across the world for time immemorial.

      And we haven’t even mentioned farming and methane production!! Best wishes Ian

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    • Ask the developer to:
      Justify this claim: “could power the equivalent of 15,000 homes or 19,000 electric vehicles” with data showing the forecast energy generated in January by this installation versus the amount of energy consumed by the average home in that same month – not the theoretical maximum energy output in year 1 in May and June at noon when household consumption is at its lowest point and when panels are new, or how you propose to store energy generated in summer for consumption in winter.

      Show with evidence how land that has been disturbed and compacted by HGV’s then largely left under cover with higher rainfall runoff due to compaction and water collection under the panels’ lower edges and any noxious weeds are treated – is “rested” (i.e. demonstrates higher agricultural yield than prior to installation) after 40 years.

      Show plans to eliminate the risk of runaway thermal events in the BESS over time as the batteries deteriorate and if there is any residual risk, where is the fire and police service’s major incident plan including response time to the area.

      Describe how damaged panels will be recycled. Show current evidence of successful recycling at scale.

      Describe where will the panels be manufactured and therefore where will the manufacturing jobs be created?

      List the local jobs that will be created after installation.

      Such questions are rarely asked of solar developers.

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