PLANS to build a £12m solar farm on the outskirts of Swindon went on display yesterday.

The project to build a five-megawatt capacity solar farm consisting of about 17,000 solar panels is planned at Roves Farm, Sevenhampton, by owners Rupert and Joanna Burr.

The scheme, which will stretch across about 30 acres of land in two fields to the west of the Roves Farm buildings, is the largest eligible for support under the new Government incentive scheme known as the “Feed-In Tariff” announced last year.

Yesterday, residents and farmers attended an open meeting at Roves Farm Visitor Centre to find out more about the project, and its effect on the area.

Christine Lutman, who has lived in Sevenhampton for 20 years, said: “I think this is something we need to do, if not for my generation but for the upcoming generations.

“Fossil fuels will run out so we have got to be pro-active about it.

“The farm land itself is a long way from the village so I don’t think it will cause much upset with the residents.

“The only thing that may be a problem is how long the whole project will take to erect, because the construction traffic will have implications on the village and we have been campaigning for traffic calming for many years.”

It is hoped that the farm will provide enough electricity to power 1,000 homes once it is completed.

Rupert, who has run the farm since 1992, said: “It is time that we started doing something.

“I look at places like Honda and the new B&Q site and they will obviously need a lot of electricity.

“There are opportunities for us all to work together – those who produce the energy for local needs, we hope to sell this energy in the Swindon area. It is very much a local initiative.

“There will be no noise, no smell, no vehicle movement once it is all up and running and no visual impact. Once people understand this, there won’t be the same controversy that wind turbines would create.”

Power generated will be fed into the national grid.

For more information call Roves Farm Visitor Centre during normal working hours on 01793 763939.