20-hectare solar energy park proposal for farmland in Lincolnshire
A NEW renewable energy project is proposed in Croft, which will produce electricity by harnessing the power of the sun.
Juwi Renewable Energies Limited has submitted plans for a Solar Park on land at The Hollies in Croft to East Lindsey District Council.
If approved, the development would consist of 42,000 photovoltaic cells, similar to those used on residential buildings, which would produce enough electricity to power 1,820 homes.
Head of acquisition at Juwi, Richard Seaman, said: "When there was the first big rush for solar power most people were going for high radiation areas such as Cornwall. But the Lincolnshire coast also has good radiation.
"The point with solar is it's less intrusive, it's aesthetically more pleasing.
"Although it's a vast area, the actual panels are tilted to around 800mm off the ground at the bottom and 2.2-2.5-metres high at the top edge."
The site lies 100-metres north of the existing Hollies Wind Farm and the solar park would be constructed on a 35-hectare area of Grade Three agricultural land. It is proposed the actual panels will take up just 19.5 hectares and that the land underneath will provide significant sheep grazing.
The Hollies site has been carefully selected because of its southerly aspect and open landscape but the developers say the park will be completely screened from passers by.
The electricity produced will be transferred to the National Grid via an underground cable from the application site to an existing overhead line within the landholding.
Mr Seaman, added: "We are only using Grade Three to Five land, we don't want to take good land out of the food cycle. With this, the PV park can cohabit with agricultural use well so you can still have sheep grazing on there so the farmer can still use that land.
"From the point of view of Skegness, people associate it with being bracing. We are hoping people will be able to say it's got to be sunny because it's got a solar park, so there's maybe some news for tourism there."
If approved, construction is expected to start in September and be up and running by the end of the year.
Chairman of Lincolnshire County Council's Environmental Scrutiny Committee, Colin Davie, said solar panels were one form of renewable energy the authority supports.
He said: "I am supportive of solar in principle, provided the routing of the power to the network is underground and doesn't involve any additional cabling.
"We believe Lincolnshire should press ahead on renewables in the right location and we favour solar over wind any day of the week."