Plans have not even been submitted yet but proposals to build the UK’s biggest solar farm in Fareham are already proving controversial, Portsmouth News has reported.
If it goes ahead, the 123-acre scheme will dwarf the UK’s current largest solar farm – a 30-acre site, also in Hampshire, at the Cadland estate in Fawley near Southampton.
German renewable energy company IB Vogts wants to build the huge facility at Newlands Farm, east of Meoncross School in Stubbington.
Now they have announced an exhibition which will allow the public to see rough plans for the first time.
The farm could be up and running by next Spring.
However, the site forms part of the strategic gap between south Fareham and Stubbington, land which is protected from development by Fareham Borough Council’s local plan – the document which aims to shape the borough’s growth up to 2026.
The farm would produce 47 MW of energy, enough to power 14,000 homes, which will be pumped back into the national grid.
The company believes this will be a big step in helping the UK meet its target of 15 per cent of energy from renewable sources by 2020, which it signed up to under the EU Renewable Energy Directive.
The solar panels would be put up on long racks about 7ft high called arrays. These metal frames are on pole foundations so allows the ground beneath the arrays to remain intact.
The company says the fields underneath would be sown with grass seed and grazed by sheep once the solar farm is up and running.
And around the arrays they propose to plant belts of wildflower meadow and install other features such as bird and bat boxes.
There are also plans for pedestrian, cycle and horse-riding paths, as well as the potential creation of a nature trail and some additional green space.
A consultation exhibition will take place at Neville Lovett School in St Anne’s Grove in Fareham from 3pm to 9pm on 3 October.
There will be experts on hand to answer questions and the chance to have a say on the scheme.