Solar PV- Solar photovoltaic (PV) technology collects and converts solar radiation directly into electricity. Ouse Valley Solar Farm would generate circa 17 MW, the equivalent to power in excess of 4,000 homes.
Inverters, transformers, storage and switching equipment would be required to change the low voltage direct current (DC) PV output to high voltage AC power for the National Grid, and allow disconnection of the solar farm for maintenance.
North of Norlington Lane, Ringmer
Indicative Solar Farm Site Outline
A planning application will be lodged with Lewes District Council. All relevant designs, elevations studies and reports will be submitted. The project is subject to planning approval and further consultation will be conducted as part of the planning process.
The solar farm would be built over a period of circa four months. The aim would be to complete by September 2022.
A stock fence and security cameras would be installed to keep people safe and to protect the solar panels from theft or vandalism.
Construction Traffic- During the four month construction phase daily deliveries would be required. A traffic management plan would be agreed with East Sussex Highways to minimise disruption during construction within the local area.
Once commissioned and operational there would be very little traffic to the site during its lifetime, which is expected to be approximately 30 years.
Ouse Valley Solar Farm will be owned by its community members. Fund raising will start once we have received planning permission and are ready to start the preparations for construction. Each member will have one vote, regardless of amount invested. Members will receive a maximum annual return on their investment with their capital returned over the life time of the project. The project is expected to produce a reliable income stream from which interest can be paid to local investors and into a community benefit fund. As a community benefit society any and all surplus income must be dispersed for the benefit of the community.
Community group installing bird boxes, bat boxes and swift tower at a local solar farm
Community group at a local solar farm
The Community Benefits
Direct benefits of a solar farm are the carbon savings needed to address the climate emergency and the environmental gains. In addition the solar farm will increase the wealth of the community by providing local employment where possible and allowing the community to invest in the project.
The additional benefits of Ouse Valley Solar Farm will be the creation of a community benefit fund where all surplus income from the project will be returned to the community. The community benefit fund will be used in two ways: on future additional decarbonisation and energy efficiency projects; and on wider engagement with the community through education and addressing fuel poverty.
Sheep, would graze between and beneath the solar panels, retaining agricultural use of the site. Sheep thrive among solar panels as they provide shelter in the winter and shade in summer.
After approximately thirty years, the site would be restored back to full agricultural use. A fund to pay for this forms part of the lease of the land to ensure the site is restored to its pre-construction state, except for the additional biodiversity and habitat enhancement, which would remain.
Mitigation measures being proposed will reduce the visibility of Ouse Valley Solar Farm from outside the site. The solar farm is enclosed by tree canopies and hedging to the north. The solar farm will be visible in part from the public footpath. A landscape visual impact assessment will be undertaken and the findings will inform the final design to mitigate identified areas of impact.
Hedgerows provide a species rich environment and taking the fields out of arable rotation will allow considerable biodiversity net gain over the lifetime of the solar farm. Additional hedgerow planting would be provided, and gaps filled along some of the existing boundary hedgerows to minimise visual impact and to maximise biodiversity. Bat boxes, bird boxes, bug hotels, log piles will be added within the site and along boundaries. A community meadow will be planted, and an area set aside to encourage ground nesting birds.
All archeologically sensitive areas will be identified, and appropriate mitigation considered within design.
No public rights of way will be removed or diverted as a result of the proposal. All appropriate safety measures will be in place during construction.
An education area is proposed adjoining the footpath next to a community meadow.
A topography survey is being undertaken. A flood risk assessment and drainage strategy will be implemented to mitigate or avoid potential flood issues.