London Road

Solar Farm

Welcome

Renewable Connections has submitted a planning application for a 26MW solar farm on land to the south of B570 Gipsy Lane, Irchester, Wellingborough, Northamptonshire.

Once operational the solar farm would supply enough renewable energy to power the equivalent of roughly 7,500 homes and will make a significant contribution towards North Northamptonshire’s climate change targets.

In advance of submitting a planning application, Renewable Connections is undertaking a period of public consultation on the proposals. Due to current Government guidance in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and Renewable Connections corporate policy regarding in-person events, consultation will be undertaken virtually via an online webinar event.

We welcome any feedback you may have regarding our proposals, so please do get in touch either by email or by post if you are unable to attend our virtual event.

Quick Facts

Megawatt Icon

29,700 megawatt hours supplied each year

Icon House

Equivalent annual energy needs of 7,500 homes

9,700 equivalent cars taken off the road

Location

The proposed solar farm site comprises approximately 64ha (157 acres) of agricultural land to the south of B570 Gipsy Lane and to the east of A509 London Road.

Only 41ha of the site is proposed to be covered by solar panels, with the remaining 23ha comprising a mix of landscaping / ecological enhancement areas, and areas retained for ongoing agricultural use. The location and layout of the solar panel areas within the site has been informed by extensive site survey work in consultation with North Northamptonshire Council and other key stakeholders.

Our Proposals

Once installed, the proposed solar farm will have a capacity of up to 26MW and will be operational for a period of up to 40 years. At the end of this 40-year term, the solar farm will be fully decommissioned and removed from the site with equipment re-used and recycled where possible. The site will then return to its current agricultural use, with the benefit of improved soil health and biodiversity as a result of the 40-year fallow period.

The proposed solar farm will connect to Wellingborough substation via existing powerlines and underground cabling, so no new pylons will be required as a result of this development.

We are proposing to use a “tracking” solar panel system on this site. These types of panels are able to track the movement of the sun during the day by tilting on a fixed axis in order to maintain the optimum angle of incidence. This will mean that the solar farm will generate a higher output than a fixed solar panel system over the same period, increasing the amount of renewable energy which can be produced by this solar farm. As a result, the tracking solar panels will be installed in rows along a north / south orientation in order to allow the panels to tilt as the sun moves from east to west during the day.

The total height of the solar panels will be no more than 3m above the ground, with a gap of at least 0.5m above the ground at a minimum.

Sheep On Field
Solar Farm

Small electric cabins will be located amongst the panels and these will be accessed by a network of crushed stone track which will run through the site. All of the panels will be surrounded by a deer fencing to protect the equipment from large animals entering the site. CCTV cameras will be located periodically around the site perimeter for security.

The proposed solar farm will include additional landscaping and ecological enhancement areas, including hedgerow planting and new habitat creation, in order to help screen the development from nearby roads and footpaths, as well as to improve the biodiversity of the site.

Project documents

Project timeline

Stage 1

Site selection
Winter 2019

Stage 2

Preliminary Surveys
Spring 2020

Stage 3

Pre-application
Spring 2021

Stage 4

Community Consultation
Summer 2021

Stage 5

Submission
Autumn 2021

Stage 6

Construction
Summer 2023

The need for the project

The UK Government declared a Climate Emergency in May 2019, setting out their commitment to achieving net zero by 2030.

The newly formed North Northamptonshire Council declared their own Climate Emergency in July 2021, reaffirming the local commitment to achieving net zero.

In August 2021, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published their Sixth Assessment Report whose findings have been described by the UN Secretary-General as a “code red for humanity”. In order to avoid the climate disaster that would be caused by global warming of more than 1.5 degrees, it is imperative that we cease burning fossil fuels immediately and move to rely on renewable sources of energy instead.

Analysis from the Climate Change Committee (CCC) and other independent bodies shows that the UK will need to deploy at least 40GW of installed solar capacity by 2030 in order to achieve our legally binding net zero goals by 2050. Over the last decade, the UK has installed just over 14GW of solar capacity (only 35% of the amount needed) which is largely comprised of utility-scale solar projects of 5MW or above. The scale and pace of new solar development therefore needs to increase significantly over the next nine years in order to achieve net zero by the 2030 deadline.

According to the latest available data from the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) there is currently 23MW of installed solar capacity within the Borough Council of Wellingborough area, which is well below the average 117MW that needs to be installed by each of the 343 local authorities in England in order to meet the UK’s 40GW target for solar capacity generation. The 26MW solar farm we are proposing in this location would double current installed capacity in the local area, and make a significant contribution to North Northamptonshire’s climate change targets.

Solar In A Field

FAQ’s

Why this location?

This site has been identified following an extensive site selection exercise across North Northamptonshire, which took into account environmental designations, available capacity on the local grid network, the physical characteristics of the site, and the need to find a landowner supportive of our solar farm proposals.

Will there be any impacts on local roads?

For a period of approximately 6 months during construction, there will be deliveries of equipment to site. Renewable Connections will put in place measures to manage impacts of construction traffic and these measures will be included in a Construction Traffic Management Plan that will submitted with the planning application. There will be infrequent maintenance visits to the site during operation.

Will there be any permanent impact?

Solar farms are temporary and the land will be fully reinstated to farmland once the equipment is removed at the end of the project life.

Does solar pose a health risk?

No – solar is a passive technology which doesn’t produce any harmful by-products.

How long will the project be there?

The development proposes a life span of up to 40 years. No later than this, the development would be decommissioned, and the site returned to solely agricultural use. A decommissioning plan will be provided with the planning submission.

Are solar farms noisy?

No – solar farms are not noisy, producing no more than normal background levels of sound similar to wind or distant traffic beyond the site boundary.

What are the benefits to the local community?

Renewable Connections is committed to maximising the benefits for the local community. This project will support local businesses, provide enhanced business rates, and improve on-site biodiversity for local wildlife. We are also seeking to establish a Community Benefit Fund, to be administered by the local Parish Council to help fund local community projects

Get in touch

londonroadsolar@renewableconnections.co.uk
+44 (0)20 7749 2400

London Road Solar,
141-145 Curtain Road,
London,
EC2A 3BX

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