Let the sunshine in: Whittlesey community building will benefit from free solar power

A COMMUNITY building in Whittlesey will be benefit from free electricity as part of a deal to set up a new solar energy farm on the edge of town.

Whittlesey Town Council can choose which building will have a solar panel installed, and the council is expected to make a profit of �1,200 a year from selling any excess electricity.

Plans for the 2.7MW solar farm to be built on land south of Reach Drove at Whittlesey got the go ahead from Fenland District Council last week – a month after the application was deferred so some community benefit could be negotiated.

The 8.7 hectare solar farm – producing enough electricity to power 650 homes - will be situated on land south of Reach Drove. It will include rows of solar panels, a sub-station and 2.2 metre high security fencing with security cameras.

When the committee approved the planning application from Ms J Wall, Lark Energy and Ms G Sly, it was agreed that Lark Energy will provide a free roof mounted photovoltaic system to a community building nominated by Whittlesey Town Council; and the building will benefit from free electricity.

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The resulting income from the electricity of around �1,200 a year can be spent on community projects or given to the building.

A report put before the council’s planning committee said the development will be built on poor quality grassland. The large number of solar panels will be 2.25m high, and sited in rows, arranged from east to west, with 6.5 spaces between the rows.

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Security mesh fencing 2.2m high will have galvanised wire panels, and infrared CCTV cameras will be installed.

A report said: “It is considered that a countryside location is appropriate for this development and that on balance, there would be no significant adverse effects on visual amenity, the local landscape character, agricultural land, biodiversity, highway safety or flood risk.

“A renewable energy development of this scale and capacity is considered to make an important contribution to the government’s aim of reducing carbon dioxide emissions.”

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