Oxford

Plans for 'solar farm' in Watchfield to go on display

Solar panels
Image caption Sheep are able to graze underneath the panels

Residents in Oxfordshire will soon be given the chance to see plans for the county's first "solar farm".

A group near Watchfield in The Vale Of White Horse are proposing to install 10 to 30 acres of photovoltaic panels on land near an existing wind farm.

The community-owned facility could then generate enough electricity to power around 1,000 households.

An exhibition of the plans will be on display at Watchfield Village Hall on 16 November between 1500 and 1900 GMT.

Public investors

The 5,000 panels are expected to cost about £14m.

The consortium behind the project includes the landowner Adam Twine, and investors Low Carbon Solar Partners and Energy4All4.

They intend to get funding from banks for 75% of the project costs and raise the rest through public investors.

The CEO of Low Carbon Solar Partners, Mark Sharrock, said that he did not anticipate any opposition to the scheme.

He said: "The hedgerow around the field at Watchfield is higher than the panels are going to be."

The photovoltaic cells sit in steel frames that are a little bit taller than the height of a man and sheep are able to graze in the field below.

The farmer and land owner Adam Twine has already set up the Westmill Wind Farm Co-operative on the site, which has five wind turbines.

Mr Twine sees the "solar farm" as a logical extension to what is already on the site.

He said: "There's a real sense that you can take some ownership over your lifestyle impacts."

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