Renewable Connections is investigating the potential for up to 45 MW solar energy farm in Stocking Pelham, East Hertfordshire. Once operational, the project would supply enough power for over 15,000 homes, and make a valuable contribution towards tackling the climate emergency in East Hertfordshire.
As we prepare an application to submit to East Herts District Council, Renewable Connections is undertaking consultation to inform local communities of our proposed plans and invite any feedback. We will also be hosting virtual community information events to present our proposals and answer any questions given the COVID-19 pandemic.
We welcome any feedback you wish to provide so please do get in touch using our contact details below.
20,000 tonnes of CO2 saved annually
45,000 megawatt hours supplied each year
Equivalent annual energy needs of 15,000 homes
61 hectares of land enhanced for native wildlife
The site being considered for the Stocking Pelham Solar Farm is land located in the Ash Valley, East Hertfordshire. The site is 60 hectares in size.
The site is situated within a natural valley between Stocking Pelham to the east; Washall Green to the north; and Barleycroft End and Furneux Pelham to the south. The site is enclosed by hedgerows, hedgerow trees and tree belts, and large parts of the site will not be visible from the wider landscape due to intervening landform.
The site was identified because it sits within a depression. As a consequence, there is limited views of the site from local communities and nearby properties. Those existing views from the west are set against the backdrop of the Pelham grid substation. The Ash Valley also contains lower quality agricultural land compared to the wider area. The proximity of the Pelham grid substation also provides a means of connection which is a key factor in site selection.
We are still developing our plans on how we will use the site. Our design proposals will evolve as we gather input from local people and stakeholders, and the results of our environmental assessments. We will be consulting on our proposed plans with the community later in 2021.
If installed the solar farm will have a capacity of up to 45 MWp and will be operational for up to 35 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 an underground cable. 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 ecological management plan the site will be significantly enhanced for biodiversity by creating a range of new habitats, offering food and shelter to wildlife.
Late 2020 / Early 2021
Late Summer 2021
Late 2023 / Early 2024
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.
In 2019, East Herts District Council joined with other local authorities in recognising and declaring the necessity to do everything within the authority’s power to reduce its impact on the climate and to support the whole of the East Herts District to become carbon neutral by 2030.
Solar is one of the cleanest, lowest cost forms of energy available. Stocking Pelham Solar Farm would make a meaningful contribution to East Herts District’s energy needs by delivering green energy to over 15,000 homes annually. Over the lifetime of the project, it would save an estimated 700,000 tonnes of CO2 from being emitted. This is around the same reduction in carbon emissions as taking over 150,000 cars off UK roads.
This site has been identified following extensive site selection across East Herts which took into account environmental designations, local electricity network access and capacity, the physical characteristics of the site, and a supportive landowner committed to farm diversification. We will continue to develop our proposals to have as minimal impact as possible and welcome any suggestions on how our designs could be improved to deliver benefits to the local community.
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.
The route and access points to the site are still to be determined and this will follow a rigorous assesssment of the local road network to consider any local constraints in reaching this site.
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 35 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.
Solar panels themselves do not generated noise. The only noise generating features are small cabins distributed within the panel array. These have very low noise levels and will be inaudible at the site boundary.”
Renewable Connections is committed to maximising benefits for the East Herts 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.
Stocking Pelham Solar,
3rd Floor, 141-145 Curtain Road,