PLANS for 160,000 solar panels at MoD Lyneham, to supply electricity for the new £230 million Defence College of Technical Training, were unveiled at a public exhibition in Bradenstoke.
Demolition work has already started at the former RAF base and the new college is scheduled to open in early 2016 with around 2,000 students and staff.
The panels, to face south towards the middle of the site, would generate 40 megawatts each year, enough to power the college and around 10,000 extra homes. They would be 2.5 metres high and sit on a plot roughly 90 hectares, north of the site’s main runway which is not needed for defence training.
Information boards at the exhibition said the scheme was part of a wider strategy to install solar panels on government estates.
Jenny Jardine, president of the local WI group, gave feedback to the MoD on plans for the training college as part of the Lyneham steering group and said the plans looked like a good idea.
She said: “I have been more than happy with what they have been doing with the changeover.
“We didn’t want RAF Lyneham to go, but this is the best outcome for our village. It’s been very well managed. The biggest thing is, are these panels going to last? It says they last 25 to 30 years, which is quite good.”
Parish councillor Lynn Thrussell also welcomed the plans.
She said: “We haven’t heard anybody complaining about it and normally we’re the first to hear.
“If they have to use the land for something it’s probably the best use. At least it’s going to be quiet”
Bradenstoke resident Pauline Aves said: “I think it’s a good idea, I’m all in favour of using up space that’s not going to be used for anything else. It’s not like having a wind farm, it’s going to be quite quiet.”
A planning application for the proposal will be submitted early this summer and if successful, work to upgrade electricity grid connections at the site could start in autumn.