Solar farm’s energy could power hundreds of homes

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JERSEY’S first ground-based solar farm, which could power more than a tenth of the homes in St Clement, has been recommended for approval by planning officers.

The scheme, if approved, would see Jersey Electricity install 7,500 ground-mounted, fixed-tilt solar photovoltaic panels in two agricultural fields. According to the plans they would will operate for the next 40 years.

The fields, off Rue du Moulin à Vent, have traditionally been used to grow potatoes but, under JE’s proposals, would instead be used for grazing sheep while producing power.

The final decision on the scheme will be made by the Planning Committee.

The planning officer overseeing the application wrote: ‘The Island Plan supports the creation of larger-scale terrestrial renewable energy installations subject to a number of considerations.

‘The applicant is seeking permission on the basis that the land will remain in agricultural use while generating clean energy for the Island.

‘The applicant has reviewed and assessed a range of alternative sites and locations, including those in the built-up area, and glasshouse sites, and has provided clear documentation as to why there are limited viable alternative sites to accommodate utility-scale solar arrays.

‘While there are environmental impacts that will arise from the development, the Environment Impact Statement provides a range of mitigation measures to reduce and mitigate these impacts to an acceptable level.’

James King, Solar Project Officer and Peter Cadiou, Commercial Services Director at JE Picture: JON GUEGAN. (34772256)

The officer has also recommended that a number of binding agreements are attached to the permission if the plans are passed.

These include that the operation should cease after 40 years and that any associated plant operates below five decibels.

If approved, the solar farm would generate approximately four megawatts of power, which is equivalent to the electricity consumption of 634 average Jersey houses, or 14% of the homes in the St Clement.

It is the first of a number of solar sites being brought forward by Jersey Electricity, which is aiming to deliver 25MW of renewable energy, equivalent to approximately 5% of local annual demand. Approximately 30 hectares of land would be required to meet this ambition. The St Clement application site is 4.9 hectares – the equivalent of roughly seven full-size football pitches.

JE has also said that is wants to build a solar farm at Sorel.

The company says that their plans aim to accelerate renewable-energy generation to meet Jersey’s energy sovereignty goals and the Carbon Neutral Strategy’s low-carbon energy policy.

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