The proposal is the construction, operation, maintenance and decommissioning of a ground mounted solar farm with a maximum export capacity of 30MW with potential battery storage. The proposed development would, typically, have a life of up to 40 years at the end of which the modules would be decommissioned and removed from the site.
There will also be some electrical connection infrastructure. A grid connection route is proposed to the north east to connect the proposed solar PV development to the existing Whitchurch substation located on the A41. This includes a simple cable route through the fields along the track and onto the A41.
To utilise the network capacity fully, it is proposed that battery storage is included as a second phase of development, this will store surplus energy in order to provide help to the grid during peak consumer usage.
As a general design principle for the ground mounted solar, the layout will be based on a bifacial panels fixed onto a single tracker mounting systems. The top height of the panels is expected to be c. 3m. The metal framework that houses the modules will be supported at intervals by single mounted posts approximately 3.5m apart. The posts will be driven into the ground at an approximate depth of 2.5 m. The cabling would be concealed in trenches. The arrays would be set within a 2.0m high stock-proof fence. The distance between the proposed fencing and existing hedges would vary across the site and would typically be around 5m.
The application proposal would also include a package of landscape, ecological and biodiversity benefits that could include the installation of barn owl boxes, bird nesting boxes, beehives, log piles, restoration of traditional field boundaries, and other hibernacula such as small buried rubble piles suitable for reptile species, amphibians and insect life. Land between and beneath the panels can be used for biodiversity enhancements and seasonal grazing. Existing hedgerows surrounding the site would be bolstered with additional hedgerow and tree planting where required particularly along PRoWs. The new hedgerows would deliver biodiversity enhancements by providing green ecological corridors.
Construction material deliveries will arrive by small and medium HGV vehicles, whilst construction staff will arrive via commercial vans.
Construction of the scheme will last no longer than 6 months.
The benefits of Bubney Solar Farm
The main benefits of the development proposed are summarised below:
The site would generate enough renewable power to supply the equivalent annual energy needs of more than 9,090 homes, making a significant contribution to local clean power and regional renewable targets.
The scheme would displace 12,900 tonnes of CO2 from equivalent fossil fuel generation over the lifespan of 40 years.
The scheme would allow Shropshire to play its part in reducing greenhouse gas emissions in line with local, national and international targets.
The site will offer considerable biodiversity and landscape enhancements. Both will be carefully managed with a Landscape and Ecological Management Plan.
The site can still be used for grazing throughout the operation of the solar farm and can be returned to its original agricultural use following decommissioning.