A SOLAR farm that could meet the needs of over 15,000 homes is in its early phases of consultation.
Lightsource bp is working on a proposal for a solar farm at Hett Moor Farm, Thinford Lane, Thinford, County Durham.
The company is to fund the development of a solar farm to be connected into the local electricity network. It will have an output power capacity of 49.9 megawatts which is the equivalent to the energy needs of 16,330 households.
The company claims the site would save 20,558 tonnes of carbon emissions, which is the same as 4,374 cars off the road.
The 258 acre site has been chosen after careful consideration, and the company is now undertaking a wide range of environmental assessments to help shape plans.
These include landscape and visual, heritage and archaeology, ecology and ornithology, flooding and more.
The land under the solar panels will be used for grazing sheep and new vegetation will be planted around the solar farm for protection.
Penny Laurenson, Director of Environmental Planning and Sustainability, Lightsource bp said: “Solar energy is not only clean and renewable, but it also generates locally-produced electricity.
“This makes solar an important part of meeting the global rise in energy demand efficiently and more sustainably, which is a core aspect of Lightsource bp’s sustainability mission.
“Safety is one of our core values, and in order to keep to the standards of community engagement that we’ve set as a company in the current global situation.
“We want to ensure that local communities in and around the proposed location have all the information they need about this project.”
However, residents have raised some concerns over the size and scale of the project.
Residents of Metal Bridge feel like they have not been told about what potential affects there could be from electrical equipment from such as large site.
Mel Dawson said: “I have no objection to sustainable energy in principle, however when a development of this scale is proposed less than 100 meters from ones home, there will be a negative impact, both in the value of our property and the change from green field surrounds to a commercial power generating facility.
“There is also a potential for electromagnetic interference with electrical and communication devices.
“I have asked Lightsource bp how they propose to address these issues, however I am awaiting a formal response.
“I was told they ‘have seen no evidence to suggest property prices will be affected’.”
Another resident Doreen Brazier said: “I have concerns about the house prices because we don’t want it to interfere with the broadband and phones. We have paid a lot to improve our internet in this area and we don’t want to lose that.”