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Solar park is planned for farmland north of Wantage
A SOLAR farm, the size of more than 70 football pitches, could soon be built on land north of Wantage.
German company Kronos Solar has unveiled its plans to put enough solar panels to provide electricity for 15,000 people on land west of Garford.
The Munich-based company held a public consultation in Garford Village Hall on Monday and says it is just weeks away from putting in a planning application.
Dr Alexander Arcache, a director of Kronos Solar, said: “It is the perfect location for a solar park, with very limited visual impact.
“It has fantastic access to the grid and it is low grade farmland, though it would be possible to keep it as farmland to graze sheep even if the solar park was built.
“We have had a very long search for a suitable site and this is for us the best location for a solar park.”
Dr Arcache said the company does not own the 50-hectare site but will rent it from the landowner.
The firm’s “core markets” are Germany, Poland, Romania and the UK. It has solar farms in Cornwall, Wales and the Isle of Wight.
The company said it would be willing to give cash to Garford to mitigate the scheme’s impact.
Mike Greig, a resident of Garford, said: “I have got mixed views. You cannot actually see it because it is south facing and it is behind hedgerows.”
But he added: “I worry about the economics of it.
“ suspect that this is an extremely economically inefficient way of generating electricity in Oxfordshire.”
Another resident said: “We have two concerns – one is the impact on our view of the Ridgeway but from a wider perspective there is growing concern about the number of these solar farms cropping up in the area.
“I support renewable energy but my question is whether it needs to be in this particular spot.”
In 2013, plans were lodged for 1,833 acres in Oxfordshire covered with solar panels – more than four times the 427 acres in 2012.
This worries groups such as the Campaign to Protect Rural England. Work has already started on a 230-acre solar farm at Landmead Farm near East Hanney, set to become the largest in the UK.
- Barnards Gate, Eynsham – 64 acres, approved
- Besselsleigh – 120 acres, proposed
- Landmead Farm, East Hanney – 230 acres, in progress
- Elms Farm, Crab Hill, Grove – 145 acres, proposed
- Hill Farm, Steventon – 71 acres, in progress
- Orta, East Hendred – proposed
- Goose Willow Farm, Steventon – 177 acres, approved
- Culham Science Park – 37 acres, proposed
- Harwell Science Campus – 416 acres, proposed