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Renewable energy firms unveil plans for large solar farms

Proposals have been submitted to create a solar farm capable of generating up to 5MW east of Sandhutton, near Thirsk, while large-scale PV power plants firm Luminous Energy is set to apply for permission to build a 105-acre scheme at East Cowton, near Northallerton, the Darlington and Stockton Times has reported.

It follows an 18,000-panel scheme at Ainderby Steeple, near Northallerton, capable of powering 1,318 homes, and a scheme involving about 20,000 panels across a 24-acre site near Sessay being granted consent last year.

The 45-acre Elgin Energy Esco plan at Sandhutton would see electricity from about 20,000 1.9m x 1m panels exported to the National Grid by an underground cable.

The firm said that as the dark blue panels would be 2.8m above ground level at their highest point, a series of mitigation and enhancement measures had been proposed, including planting trees and hedges to screen the site.

A spokesman for Elgin said: “The solar development would introduce a new element within a mainly rural open landscape.

“The layout of the site has been designed in such a way as to avoid locating panels on the more elevated, central part of the field, which will reduce the visual influence of the development.”

Residents in Sandhutton said that as the scheme would not directly benefit the village and would see 120 lorry movements to and from the site over its 12-week construction period, they hoped the developers would help fund new facilities such as a children’s playground.

East Cowton Parish Council chairman Stephen Watson said the scheme had received a mixed reception from residents.

He said the main concern was the loss of the agricultural land.

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