Amber Valley council asked to approve plans for giant solar energy plant on farmland near Alfreton
Plans for a colossal solar farm on farmland west of Alfreton have been submitted to Amber Valley Borough Council.
Cornish firm Kronos Solar wants to install solar panels across 310 acres of fields – equivalent to 155 football pitches – in two clusters between Alfreton Park School, Alfreton Hall and Shirland golf club.
The application says the land could be used to continue grazing sheep, growing hay and farming honey bees, although fencing several metres tall would be installed to keep out deer.
A Kronos spokesman said: “The use of this land for solar energy along with the continued agricultural use, biodiversity and landscaping enhancements should be considered an acceptable development proposal as there will be no loss of any higher-grade agricultural land.
“The UK has ambitious targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and moving towards a low ca rbon society. The benefits of delivering renewable energy are substantial and far reaching, both for current and future generations.”
As well as the solar arrays, a substation would be constructed off the B6025, opposite the Alfreton sewage treatment works.
The site would generate 49.9 megawatts of electricity each year, enough to power 11,500 homes.
If planning permission is approved, construction could begin in 2022 with the site operational by the summer.
Kronos envisages that the solar farm would be place until 2055, when it would be dismantled and the land returned to exclusive agricultural use.
As it stands, the company describes the fields as low-grade land, difficult to farm without “large amounts of fertilizers, herbicides and other chemicals”, and that a solar farm would “safeguard” Alfreton Brook.
Plans are also currently u nder way for a 120-acre solar farm in fields directly to the east of the sewage works, and the potential impact on the landscape has met with opposition among residents.
One objection to the planning application said: “Something on this scale is totally wrong. This development would surely take away from the enjoyment of what countryside walks we have left around Alfreton.”
For full details, search for application AVA-2020-1224 at ambervalley.gov.uk.