‘Solar farm for all’ plans go on display

James Owen, head of energy and sustainability at SCS

James Owen, head of energy and sustainability at SCS

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

PLANS for as many as 32,000 solar panels in Shaw Forest will go on show today.

The development, which is being proposed for the former site of Barnfield tip, would see between 16,000 and 32,000 solar panels being installed.

The plans will be on display at the Peatmoor Community Primary School today to discuss the proposal, which would cover between 22 and 25 acres.

James Owen, head of energy and sustainability for SCS and project manager, has said he is excited about the project because he believes it could result in every person in Swindon owning a part of the farm.

Mr Owen is also the man behind the proposed solar farm at the Science Museum in Wroughton, which saw hundreds of people view its plans last weekend, but he does not think so many will turn out to this consultation.

He said: “I don’t think we will see the levels of interest like last week, more like 30 to 50 people maybe because it is considerably smaller, it is four to six megawatts.

“Having said that I am more excited about the project than the others because it is small enough that everybody in Swindon could own a bit of it for very little money.

“There must be a way the council and developer can make this work, and I’m not talking about only people with lot’s of money, I mean people who have a tenner in their back pocket and want to see what their investment will do.”

The consultation will take place from 10am to 2pm and give people the chance to hear more about the plans.

“If it goes ahead, the site could create enough electricity to power 1,500 homes.

Coun Nick Martin (Con, Shaw) said: “It is an opportunity to create green energy in an area we are not using at the moment.

“It is a large plateau and I don’t think they will be putting solar panels on more than half of it. I am keen that we actually plant the hillside leading up to the plateau.

“We have restored Shaw Forest in a fantastic way, which has a large green space in the middle and thousands of trees around the outside, and a lot of wildlife. “In this case we are seeing an opportunity where we can generate cheap electricity.”

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