Why have you picked this site for a solar farm?

The site has viable horizontal irradiance (daylight hours), we estimate around 964.7 Kwh/m2.

It has a nearby connection to the distribution network of the National Grid. This is essential for any renewable energy development and constraints where they can be developed. If a site is too far from a grid connection, or if that connection requires significant upgrades to accommodate a new connection, then it won’t be commercially viable.

The site has good road access, which minimises disruption to traffic and neighbours during the short construction process.

The site is not located within a National Park, SSSI or AONB.

Can’t you select an alternative site?

As solar energy developers, we look at sites all the time and we hope to bring more proposals forward.

We believe this is an excellent site and we’re moving ahead with our planning application.

Isn’t this site better for agricultural use, to help ensure Britain’s food security?

We need land for both agriculture and energy production. The land is classed as a mixture of LCCA grade 3a and 3b. The highest quality agricultural land is grade 1.

The solar farm, when built, could actually improve the soil quality over the project's lifetime, as there will be no fertiliser, pesticide application or tilling.

Crop pathogens will die out without host plants and, without constant sowing, harvesting, and ploughing, the soil should be rested and in a better state to grow crops in the future.

When the solar farm is in operation the land will be put down to a mixture of wildflowers and grasses that can be grazed by sheep, thereby continuing to be farmed, albeit in a different way.

Couldn’t you put a wind farm on neighbouring hillsides instead?

Our expertise is in finding and developing sites suitable for solar energy. We do have a sister company, Wind2, that develops onshore wind proposals.

We’re not looking to develop a wind farm near Lewknor, and we don’t believe the surrounding landscape would be suitable. There is also a lack of adequate wind resource in the area to make a windfarm commercially viable.

How much will you receive in subsidies?

None. Solar farms and other commercial renewable energy schemes haven’t received any government subsidies since 2019.

That’s why it’s essential to choose a commercially viable site with sufficient irradiation and a nearby grid connection.

Who is your financial backer?

Solar2 is the developer of this site and has partnered with Recurrent Energy on seven of its projects.

Recurrent Energy is one of the world’s largest and most geographically diversified utility-scale solar and energy storage project development, ownership and operations platforms. Recurrent Energy are a subsidiary of Canadian Solar who in their third-quarter results, posted in 2022, showed revenue of USD 1.93 billion and saw them ship 6000MW worth of panels. Recurrent Energy has also recently secured a $500 million preferred equity investment commitment, convertible into common equity, from BlackRock through a fund managed by its Climate Infrastructure business (“BlackRock”). The $500 million investment will represent 20% of the outstanding fully diluted shares of Recurrent Energy on an as-converted basis. The investment will provide Recurrent Energy with additional capital to grow its high value project development pipeline while executing its strategy to transition from a pure developer to a developer plus long-term owner and operator in select markets including the UK.

Who is responsible for decommissioning the solar farm and removing the panels at the end of its lifespan?

A full decommissioning plan will be agreed with South Oxfordshire District Council and the landowners. This will be part of the planning conditions linked to the project.

An experienced third-party surveyor will value the cost of having the site reinstated and this amount will be lodged with the council as a bond.

This figure can only be accessed by the council for decommissioning and will be re-evaluated every five years to ensure the value is sufficient.

Will this development reduce the value of our property?

There is no evidence in the UK that any solar farm has devalued a property.

Research elsewhere seems to point to renewable energy projects having little impact on property values, with other factors being considered more likely to affect the prices.