A LARGE solar farm could soon be built on land near Oxford.

Proposals for a solar farm and battery storage facility to the south west of Cowley Substation in Nuneham Courtenay have been submitted to South Oxfordshire District Council.

Enso Green Holdings Limited, a joint venture between Enso Energy and the Green Investment Group, has put in the plans and say the site, off the A4074, could generate enough power for the equivalent of 13,000 homes each year.

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It would be built on 139 hectares, comprising the grid connection cable route to the Cowley Substation and six large adjoining fields.

Documents submitted with the application say the project will utilise technology to enable the solar farm to generate 20 per cent to 25 per cent more energy than traditional fixed solar panels.The battery storage facility will store energy at times of low demand and release to the grid in periods of higher demand.

Herald Series: Artist impression of how the solar farm will look. Picture: Enso EnergyArtist impression of how the solar farm will look. Picture: Enso Energy

Beneath the solar panels new grassland habitats will be planted and potentially managed by sheep grazing, with the existing hedgerows and trees on the site would be retained.

If approved, developers anticipate the solar farm would take around seven months to build, with approximately 1,000 HGV deliveries during construction.

Residents were invited to a public consultation webinar in May, where Enso Energy’s project team presented plans and took questions about the scheme.

In response to concerns raised amendments have included keeping an existing informal public footpath and reinstating the actual public footpath.

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More easily visible solar panels have also been removed from designs as well as increasing proposed planting in areas around the site to help the panels blend in better with the surrounding countryside.

Ian Harding, director at Enso Energy said: “We’re determined to use the latest solar technology to make a positive impact on the country and communities we work with.”

He added: “Our application follows South Oxfordshire District Council’s declaration of a climate emergency, and the local and national climate change targets that are enshrined in law. We believe the South Oxfordshire Solar Farm has the potential to positively change how we create energy”.

Herald Series: Map of solar farm plan for South Oxfordshire. Picture: Enso EnergyMap of solar farm plan for South Oxfordshire. Picture: Enso Energy

There has however already been an objection lodged by Richard Oram, lead archaeologist for Oxfordshire County Council, on behalf of the authority.

He said the site was of ‘considerable archaeological interest’ and that while a geophysical survey had been carried out it was not undertaken in line with the Chartered Institute for Archaeology’s standards and guidance.

Mr Oram added: “Geophysical survey cannot be relied upon on its own to identify all archaeological interest on a site and there are numerous cases within Oxfordshire and beyond where such surveys have not identified all areas of archaeological interest.”

Consultation on the plans started at the beginning of December and is set to run until January 10.

A decision is expected in February. To view the plans and to comment search South Oxfordshire's planning site for application P20/S4360/FUL.

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