Renewable Connections is investigating the potential for an up to 15 MW solar energy farm at South Park Farm, Test Valley Borough. Once operational, the project would supply enough power for 4,200 homes, and make a valuable contribution towards tackling the climate emergency in the Test Valley Borough.
Prior to submitting a planning application Test Valley Borough Council in Winter 2021, Renewable Connections undertook consultation to inform local communities of our proposed plans and invite any feedback.
6,700 tonnes of CO2 saved annually
15,000 megawatt hours supplied each year
Equivalent annual energy needs of 4,200 homes
34 hectares of land enhanced for native wildlife
The proposed location of South Park Solar Farm is on agricultural land at South Park Farm in the Test Valley Borough, located approximately 5.5km north west of Andover and 1.5km east of Tidworth. The proposed site area is 34 hectares and extends across three separate parcels of land, all of which are currently used for agricultural activities.
The character of the site and surrounding area is agricultural. The site is entirely bound by mature hedgerows, screening the site from the railway line and Andover Road (A342) to the north east. To the east are more agricultural fields and beyond are areas of dense woodland. Directly to the south of the site but separated significantly is Little Shoddesden and to the south west of the site is Great Shoddesden.
The solar farm will be temporary and comprise of panels and associated equipment. In addition, a range of wildlife proposals will be introduced to greatly enhance the biodiversity of this area, creating news habitats and offering food and shelter to wildlife.
If installed the solar farm will have a capacity of up to 15 MW and will be operational for up to 40 years. After the time, all of the installation will be removed and the land restored to how it was before, but with improved soil health and biodiversity. The power generated will be exported to the grid via a substation connecting to existing powerlines which run through the site boundary. No new pylons will be necessary to facilitate the connection.
The solar panels will be installed in rows which run east to west through the site. These rows will be tilted towards the south to capture the maximum amount of solar irradiation possible. The total height of the panels will be no more than 2.75m above the ground with a gap of more than 0.8m above the ground at its minimum.
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 development will also involve additional landscaping including hedgerow planting and improved biodiversity management. The site is currently pasture and arable land with low ecological value, however with the implementation of a Green Infrastructure Plan the site will be significantly enhanced for biodiversity by creating a range of new habitats, offering food and shelter to wildlife.
Following the Government’s declaration of an “Environment and Climate Emergency” in May 2019, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) advised that to meet ‘Net Zero’ targets, the UK will require substantial amounts of new, low carbon power sources to be built before 2050, up to four times that of today’s levels.
Test Valley Borough Council have declared their own climate emergency on 4th September 2019, acknowledging that urgent action is required to limit the environmental impacts produced by the climate crisis and have committed to identify steps to achieve carbon neutrality as soon as possible.
Solar is one of the cleanest, lowest cost forms of energy available. South Park Solar Farm would make a meaningful contribution to Test Valley Borough’s energy needs by delivering green energy to over 4,200 homes annually. Over the lifetime of the project, it would save an estimated 268,000 tonnes of CO2 from being emitted. This is around the same reduction in carbon emissions as taking over 58,000 cars off UK roads.
This site has been identified following extensive site selection across the Test Valley Borough which took into account environmental designations, local electricity network access and capacity, the physical characteristics of the site, and a supportive landowner.
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.
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.
No – solar is a passive technology which doesn’t produce any harmful by-products.
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.
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.
Renewable Connections is committed to maximising benefits for the the Test Valley Borough Community. The project will support local businesses, provide enhanced business rates, and provide enhancements to wildlife. We will also establish a Community Benefit Fund to share the profits from the electricity sales to support local causes.
Telephone: 01264 300232
South Park Solar,
141-145 Curtain Road,