A NEW solar farm which could provide renewable electricity for almost 20,000 homes has been proposed.

A public consultation is set to be held online for local residents, councillors and other members of the community to put forward their opinions for the solar farm proposal, near Burcot in South Oxfordshire.

The proposed development by Public Power Solutions (PPS), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Swindon Borough Council, is for a subsidy-free solar farm of up to 49.9 MW, with a 49.9 MW battery storage system.

PPS has said this means the solar farm would generate enough renewable electricity to supply the equivalent of around 19,000 ‘typical’ homes.

The energy company also estimates the solar farm will save an estimated 13,000 tonnes of CO2 per year.

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It is hoped the renewable energy will make a substantial contribution to national ‘net zero’ targets after South Oxfordshire Council declared a Climate Emergency in 2019 and has committed to becoming a carbon neutral District by 2030.

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Steve Cains, director of power solutions, Public Power Solutions, said: “Solar power is now the lowest cost form of new electricity generation and has a vital role to play in the future transition to a net zero economy.

“The site at Burcot Farm is well suited for a solar development as the land is flat and already well screened on several sides by existing mature woodland, which will be supplemented by new planting where necessary.

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“The land is currently used for arable farming; by taking it out of intensive agriculture and allowing the grassland to revert back to nature, we are anticipating a substantial biodiversity gain of around 80 per cent.

“It will also be able to stay in agricultural use with sheep grazing.

“We will also be offering a community benefit fund for the lifetime of the development.”

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Due to current pandemic restrictions PPS will hold the consultation online, using Microsoft Teams on Thursday April 1 at 7pm.

The event will provide an opportunity for people to view the proposals, ask questions and provide feedback, which PPS will take into account before submitting its planning application to South Oxfordshire Council.

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More than 2000 have been sent to people who live near the proposed site. The consultation will be recorded for people to watch after and Those without access to the internet are invited to contact PPS directly to receive the information by post.

The energy company also welcomes questions and comments in advance of the consultation which can be submitted via its website.

Those interested in attending the event will need to register in advance, via the following link on the PPS website: www.publicpowersolutions.co.uk/power/projects/burcotfarm

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