Speaking out on largest solar farm

ames Owen, head of energy and sustainability for SCS, at the exhibition

ames Owen, head of energy and sustainability for SCS, at the exhibition Buy this photo

First published in News Swindon Advertiser: Photograph of the Author by , Sports reporter

RESIDENTS have had the opportunity to have their say on plans to build the largest solar farm in the country on a Wroughton airfield.

Swindon Commercial Services Ltd has partnered with the Science Museum, which owns a former airfield just outside Wroughton, to create a 40MW solar farm.

It would comprise 160,000 solar panels and cover 200 acres of a former RAF site, now owned by The Science Museum at Wroughton.

SCS said it could create enough energy to power 12,000 homes.

People queued outside the Ellendune Community Centre on Saturday to cast their eye over the plans and overall, there was a positive response to the project, which will cost around £50m.

James Owen, project manager, was delighted to see so many people turn up to have their say and said if the consultation was a success, it would move to a planning application in April, work would start in September, and the park would be completed by Christmas.

“It is fantastic to see so many people turn out to see the plans and we have forms that they can fill in to give their feedback which we look forward to hearing,” said James.

“Just from going around the room we’ve had a lot of support from people, even those who are going to be affected by the plans.

“We’ve got the space for this already and it won’t attract high volumes of traffic like some of the previous plans that have been put forward for this site might have done.

“We are very hopeful to get this project off the ground.”

Wroughton residents Joan Orman and Sally Parker were impressed by what they had seen on display and supported the plans.

Joan said: “I am very strongly in favour, because the need for renewable energy is great, we need to get away from using non-renewable sources.

“The plans show it will be up and running quickly and the land is not really used at the moment.”

However, not everybody who attended was won over.

Colin Maxfield, of Stratton, could not see how the plans would benefit the people of Swindon.

He said: “The plans don’t impress me. I think it’s a massive displacement for what will be small advantages.

“I’m all in favour of finding alternative energy sources but I think nuclear is the way forward and is safe enough.

“I think it will ruin what is a real spot of natural beauty.”

The Science Museum took over the airfield in the 1970s and uses it to store exhibits that are not currently on display.

The flat land is classed as light industrial and covered in concrete and grass making it easy to install.

Matt Moore, spokesman for the Science Museum, said: “This idea will have a positive impact on the community and that is the point of the consultation to get other people’s views on it.

“The plans we have had previously are based around large public access, or using public funding to carry them out where as this has no adverse impact and will be no expense to the museum.

“This is a robust business plan and we are looking forward to working with SCS.”

Comments (14)

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11:42am Mon 28 Jan 13

StillPav says...

I would be interested to know if the Watchfield solar farm has reached its estimated power generation that was stated in the prospectus.

Presumably, solar panels do not work when they are covered in snow?
I would be interested to know if the Watchfield solar farm has reached its estimated power generation that was stated in the prospectus. Presumably, solar panels do not work when they are covered in snow? StillPav
  • Score: 0

11:51am Mon 28 Jan 13

dc the 2nd says...

well the sun is going to be around a lot longer than our supply of natural gas or coal, panels covered in snow or not.
well the sun is going to be around a lot longer than our supply of natural gas or coal, panels covered in snow or not. dc the 2nd
  • Score: 0

12:28pm Mon 28 Jan 13

RichardR1 says...

StillPav, according to those involved the actual output has always been greater than the figures quoted in the Prospectus, so the answer would be yes.
StillPav, according to those involved the actual output has always been greater than the figures quoted in the Prospectus, so the answer would be yes. RichardR1
  • Score: 0

1:09pm Mon 28 Jan 13

StillPav says...

dc the 2nd wrote:
well the sun is going to be around a lot longer than our supply of natural gas or coal, panels covered in snow or not.
What are the 12,000 houses supplied by these panels going to do for a week when the panels are not generating electricity because they are covered in snow?

Presumably, fall back on electricity generated by coal, gas or nuclear?
[quote][p][bold]dc the 2nd[/bold] wrote: well the sun is going to be around a lot longer than our supply of natural gas or coal, panels covered in snow or not.[/p][/quote]What are the 12,000 houses supplied by these panels going to do for a week when the panels are not generating electricity because they are covered in snow? Presumably, fall back on electricity generated by coal, gas or nuclear? StillPav
  • Score: 0

1:51pm Mon 28 Jan 13

dc the 2nd says...

StillPav wrote:
dc the 2nd wrote:
well the sun is going to be around a lot longer than our supply of natural gas or coal, panels covered in snow or not.
What are the 12,000 houses supplied by these panels going to do for a week when the panels are not generating electricity because they are covered in snow?

Presumably, fall back on electricity generated by coal, gas or nuclear?
Or maybe someone could clear the snow with a broom.

If we can build nuclear power stations then surely snow removal technology must be nearly within our grasp.
[quote][p][bold]StillPav[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]dc the 2nd[/bold] wrote: well the sun is going to be around a lot longer than our supply of natural gas or coal, panels covered in snow or not.[/p][/quote]What are the 12,000 houses supplied by these panels going to do for a week when the panels are not generating electricity because they are covered in snow? Presumably, fall back on electricity generated by coal, gas or nuclear?[/p][/quote]Or maybe someone could clear the snow with a broom. If we can build nuclear power stations then surely snow removal technology must be nearly within our grasp. dc the 2nd
  • Score: 0

2:39pm Mon 28 Jan 13

StillPav says...

@dc the 2nd - "Or maybe someone could clear the snow with a broom."

Say it takes 10 seconds to clear one panel, it would take one person 18 days to clear all 160,000 panels, assuming that person works 24-hours a day and each panel only needs to be cleared once.

I would be interesting to know how the Watchfield site was effected by the recent snowfall.
@dc the 2nd - "Or maybe someone could clear the snow with a broom." Say it takes 10 seconds to clear one panel, it would take one person 18 days to clear all 160,000 panels, assuming that person works 24-hours a day and each panel only needs to be cleared once. I would be interesting to know how the Watchfield site was effected by the recent snowfall. StillPav
  • Score: 0

2:45pm Mon 28 Jan 13

The Artist formally known as Grumpy Old Man says...

StillPav wrote:
@dc the 2nd - "Or maybe someone could clear the snow with a broom."

Say it takes 10 seconds to clear one panel, it would take one person 18 days to clear all 160,000 panels, assuming that person works 24-hours a day and each panel only needs to be cleared once.

I would be interesting to know how the Watchfield site was effected by the recent snowfall.
So because a panel can't be used for 1/2 days a year we shouldn't have them at all? Strange logic.

I'm all for using Solar as part of a mix of energy sources. The more different ways we have of generating power the more resilient our infrastructure is! What I am against however is the subsidy, paid for by all of us in our energy bills, which goes into the pockets of these providers in "profit"...
[quote][p][bold]StillPav[/bold] wrote: @dc the 2nd - "Or maybe someone could clear the snow with a broom." Say it takes 10 seconds to clear one panel, it would take one person 18 days to clear all 160,000 panels, assuming that person works 24-hours a day and each panel only needs to be cleared once. I would be interesting to know how the Watchfield site was effected by the recent snowfall.[/p][/quote]So because a panel can't be used for 1/2 days a year we shouldn't have them at all? Strange logic. I'm all for using Solar as part of a mix of energy sources. The more different ways we have of generating power the more resilient our infrastructure is! What I am against however is the subsidy, paid for by all of us in our energy bills, which goes into the pockets of these providers in "profit"... The Artist formally known as Grumpy Old Man
  • Score: 0

3:04pm Mon 28 Jan 13

dc the 2nd says...

StillPav wrote:
@dc the 2nd - "Or maybe someone could clear the snow with a broom."

Say it takes 10 seconds to clear one panel, it would take one person 18 days to clear all 160,000 panels, assuming that person works 24-hours a day and each panel only needs to be cleared once.

I would be interesting to know how the Watchfield site was effected by the recent snowfall.
Well with our near constant snowfall maybe you're right....It just makes me so mad that we live in the artic.

In all seriousness solar tech isn't going to replace fossil or nuclear anytime soon. But panel tech is getting better and cheaper all the time so investing to drive this growth is very important. Who knows maybe we can make a serious dent in the energy bill one day with renewables. Those places in the UK and beyond with tech experience and skilled workers will surely benefit in the long term.
[quote][p][bold]StillPav[/bold] wrote: @dc the 2nd - "Or maybe someone could clear the snow with a broom." Say it takes 10 seconds to clear one panel, it would take one person 18 days to clear all 160,000 panels, assuming that person works 24-hours a day and each panel only needs to be cleared once. I would be interesting to know how the Watchfield site was effected by the recent snowfall.[/p][/quote]Well with our near constant snowfall maybe you're right....It just makes me so mad that we live in the artic. In all seriousness solar tech isn't going to replace fossil or nuclear anytime soon. But panel tech is getting better and cheaper all the time so investing to drive this growth is very important. Who knows maybe we can make a serious dent in the energy bill one day with renewables. Those places in the UK and beyond with tech experience and skilled workers will surely benefit in the long term. dc the 2nd
  • Score: 0

4:32pm Mon 28 Jan 13

Hmmmf says...

The fact that there would be no solar farms without the obscene subsidies lumped onto our energy bills (whether we like it or not) tells you all you need to know about the genuine viability of wind- or PV-farms. Not one power station, fossil or nuclear, has ever been decommissioned as a result of these 'alternative' energy sources, none of which can provide the 24/7 energy supply modern society demands.
The fact that there would be no solar farms without the obscene subsidies lumped onto our energy bills (whether we like it or not) tells you all you need to know about the genuine viability of wind- or PV-farms. Not one power station, fossil or nuclear, has ever been decommissioned as a result of these 'alternative' energy sources, none of which can provide the 24/7 energy supply modern society demands. Hmmmf
  • Score: 0

5:43pm Mon 28 Jan 13

Gypsey2 says...

dc the 2nd wrote:
well the sun is going to be around a lot longer than our supply of natural gas or coal, panels covered in snow or not.
Natural gas and nuclear power will be around long after the rare earth minerals that are so destructively mined have run out. The green movement does more harm than good.
[quote][p][bold]dc the 2nd[/bold] wrote: well the sun is going to be around a lot longer than our supply of natural gas or coal, panels covered in snow or not.[/p][/quote]Natural gas and nuclear power will be around long after the rare earth minerals that are so destructively mined have run out. The green movement does more harm than good. Gypsey2
  • Score: 0

7:58am Tue 29 Jan 13

RichardR1 says...

Hmmmf aren't half of our Nuclear Power stations shutting in 2015. If so what is to replace them. Solar is part of the solution as are the wind turbines welcomed in Northern Ireland which will help to supply the mainland.

We can't simply keep burying our heads in the sand, or wait for a certain Nuclear Scientists secret inventions that will save the planet.
Hmmmf aren't half of our Nuclear Power stations shutting in 2015. If so what is to replace them. Solar is part of the solution as are the wind turbines welcomed in Northern Ireland which will help to supply the mainland. We can't simply keep burying our heads in the sand, or wait for a certain Nuclear Scientists secret inventions that will save the planet. RichardR1
  • Score: 0

8:23am Tue 29 Jan 13

dc the 2nd says...

Gypsey2 wrote:
dc the 2nd wrote:
well the sun is going to be around a lot longer than our supply of natural gas or coal, panels covered in snow or not.
Natural gas and nuclear power will be around long after the rare earth minerals that are so destructively mined have run out. The green movement does more harm than good.
yeah nuclear and gas extraction don't need any of those at all, I just tripped over a pile or uranium this morning. Its everywhere!!
[quote][p][bold]Gypsey2[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]dc the 2nd[/bold] wrote: well the sun is going to be around a lot longer than our supply of natural gas or coal, panels covered in snow or not.[/p][/quote]Natural gas and nuclear power will be around long after the rare earth minerals that are so destructively mined have run out. The green movement does more harm than good.[/p][/quote]yeah nuclear and gas extraction don't need any of those at all, I just tripped over a pile or uranium this morning. Its everywhere!! dc the 2nd
  • Score: 0

5:45pm Wed 30 Jan 13

Gypsey2 says...

dc the 2nd wrote:
Gypsey2 wrote:
dc the 2nd wrote:
well the sun is going to be around a lot longer than our supply of natural gas or coal, panels covered in snow or not.
Natural gas and nuclear power will be around long after the rare earth minerals that are so destructively mined have run out. The green movement does more harm than good.
yeah nuclear and gas extraction don't need any of those at all, I just tripped over a pile or uranium this morning. Its everywhere!!
I'm so sorry to hear that you tripped over a pile of uranium this morning. I do hope you get decontaminated safely.

Perhaps I should spell it out for you, as, judging by your strange response, it appears you do not understand what I meant. China produces 95% of the rare earth minerals that go into much of todays green energy technology, including wind turbines and batteries for all those 'un-green' electric vehicles (but that is another story). Their extraction methods are shocking for both the environment and the health of the miners and people living nearby. Nuclear and Gas power stations are far more cost effective and efficient. The effect of burning coal on the climate is also negligeable. Green energy is very expensive, does more harm than good, and costs have already placed too many people into fuel poverty. The planet does need saving - from the environmentalists!

If you are concerned about radiation perhaps you might want to learn about thorium reactors, and the research that has gone into that.
[quote][p][bold]dc the 2nd[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Gypsey2[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]dc the 2nd[/bold] wrote: well the sun is going to be around a lot longer than our supply of natural gas or coal, panels covered in snow or not.[/p][/quote]Natural gas and nuclear power will be around long after the rare earth minerals that are so destructively mined have run out. The green movement does more harm than good.[/p][/quote]yeah nuclear and gas extraction don't need any of those at all, I just tripped over a pile or uranium this morning. Its everywhere!![/p][/quote]I'm so sorry to hear that you tripped over a pile of uranium this morning. I do hope you get decontaminated safely. Perhaps I should spell it out for you, as, judging by your strange response, it appears you do not understand what I meant. China produces 95% of the rare earth minerals that go into much of todays green energy technology, including wind turbines and batteries for all those 'un-green' electric vehicles (but that is another story). Their extraction methods are shocking for both the environment and the health of the miners and people living nearby. Nuclear and Gas power stations are far more cost effective and efficient. The effect of burning coal on the climate is also negligeable. Green energy is very expensive, does more harm than good, and costs have already placed too many people into fuel poverty. The planet does need saving - from the environmentalists! If you are concerned about radiation perhaps you might want to learn about thorium reactors, and the research that has gone into that. Gypsey2
  • Score: 0

11:32am Thu 31 Jan 13

dc the 2nd says...

12bn just to store the waste from nuclear reactors in the UK needed. Not including the development and running of the reactors that create this waste.

Oh and then you'll need to guard that waste for 100,000 years. Add the costs of that up.

That'll be 99,000 years after coal, oil and gas are completely gone from the planet.
12bn just to store the waste from nuclear reactors in the UK needed. Not including the development and running of the reactors that create this waste. Oh and then you'll need to guard that waste for 100,000 years. Add the costs of that up. That'll be 99,000 years after coal, oil and gas are completely gone from the planet. dc the 2nd
  • Score: 0

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