Plans for a Solar Farm in Little Marlow, Buckinghamshire

By the end of this month (January 2016) Wycombe District council will receive a recommendation from planning officers, regarding the proposal by the energy firm Anesco to erect hundreds of solar panels on greenbelt land in Little Marlow, Buckinghamshire.

The land where the solar panels would be installed had been thought to be reserved for a riverside country park, after strong opposition to developers who were interested in building housing there. Some local residents are concerned about beautiful green belt land in Buckinghamshire being taken up with solar panels, making it unsightly. Anesco maintain that the plans are within planning policy criteria as they would be built on a former landfill site within the land, and that trees would be planted to mask any poor quality land.


What is a Solar Farm?

Solar farms are large scale arrays of photovoltaic panels - typically situated in rural areas - that generate green, clean electricity, usually to feed the national grid. There are 426 solar farms currently operating in the UK at the end of 2015, another 70 under development and a further 123 that have been proposed.

Solar farms are being developed to aid the UK’s target of sourcing a minimum of 20% of its energy from renewable sources by 2020, as part of their deal to minimize damaging Climate Change by reducing greenhouse gases. Anesco are a green energy business, developed from the power group Scottish and Southern energy. They advise local authorities throughout the UK how to reduce carbon emissions, and their proposed solar farm – if built - would supply power to around 1500 homes.


How much land would the solar panels on Buckinghamshire green belt take up?

Based on the average consumption of energy per household in the UK, for every 5 megawatts (MW) installed, a solar farm could power 1500 homes for a year, which is the number of homes quoted by Anesco to be powered by the Buckinghamshire solar farm. The amount of area required to generate 5 MW varies, depending on the location of the solar farm, the slope of the site and the efficiency of the solar panels.  But generally it would require around 25 acres of land to generate the amount of power proposed. For the proposed site in Little Marlow, along with all sites in the UK, additional research will be carried out by the department of environment and climate change (DECC) on the impact that a solar farm would have on the local environment and biodiversity, in order to ascertain the suitability of solar panels.


Once the application for the solar farm in Little Marlow is received, it will be available from Wycombe District council for the public to view and comment, before any decisions will be made.