CONSTRUCTION on a new solar farm near South Marston is due to start next month.
The Sevor Farm project was given planning permission in June and an application has since been put forward to link it up with the Honda Manufacturing Plant, although work on this has already begun.
The site, which is located next to the South Marston solar farm, will cover three fields and comprise of around 38,000 solar panels. It will be there for 25 years, after which it will be returned to agricultural land.
Initially, the power generated by the 8mw farm was due to be put into the National Grid. However, to make the site viable it has been decided that it will be used to provide electricity to Honda.
Roland Billington, a planning manager at AEE, who are behind the proposal, said: “It was decided that to make the farm financially viable, along with issues to do with connecting to the grid, to work with Honda. Our solar farm at South Marston also connects to the Honda plant so we have worked with them before. We have worked with the landowner when selecting the site who now has a guaranteed income for the next 25 years.”
While the farm is operational, the land will still be used for agricultural purposes with a flock of sheep grazing the land.
The Sevor Farm project will be the latest in a number of solar projects which have been built or are being discussed in the Swindon area.
As well as the South Marston farm, a proposal to build the largest solar plant in the country close to Wroughton will be seen by the council’s planning committee.
Swindon South MP Robert Buckland believes the new developments are a sign of the growing importance of solar power within Swindon. He said: “I think solar power has quietly been playing an increasingly important part in Swindon. Honda use solar, Swindon Commercial Services have installed panels at their depot and you increasingly see them on roof tops around the town. The support you see throughout the community for these projects shows it is welcome. It has meant largely, with a few exceptions, Swindon has avoided big arguments that are associated with wind turbines. As long as the developments are sensible and take into account the long-term picture then I can possibly see more farms in the future.”