Residents' fears over Usk mega solar farm scheme
10:50am Tuesday 9th October 2012 in Gwent news
A SECOND, much larger, solar farm could be built in the Usk Valley just a mile from an existing one which is believed to be one of the largest in Wales Plans have been submitted for 32,400 panels, which would be installed on 40 acres of fields at Lower House Farm in Kemys Commander, near Usk, by energy specialists Smarter Energy Solutions Limited to Monmouthshire Council.
The proposal comes a year after the company constructed a solar farm of 22,500 panels on a 32-acre site across four fields in nearby Llancayo.
The £13.4 million development was the largest site accredited by the electricity supply regulator in Wales.
The system generates 4.45 million units of electricity each year and works using solar panels which generate energy from daylight, not direct sunlight, and generates electricity all year round.
This latest application is spread across seven fields, which are being used as arable farmland producing cereal crops and grassland used for grazing livestock.
It would generate enough electricity to power 2,120 homes, saving 3,286 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year and have a life span of up to 40 years.
Local residents fear the scheme will be an obtrusive eyesore and visible from the Usk Valley Walk footpath.
Ian and Valerie Richardson, of Corner Cottage, said: “We feel the proposed application will destroy one of the most attractive parts of the Usk area for no lasting benefit.”
They say another largerscale scheme is unacceptable as the site borders a site of special scientific interest and that solar panels will spoil the view from nonfarming businesses such as bed and breakfasts.
An ecological assessment of the site, commissioned by the owners, found that the scheme would create new habitats to benefit diversity over an area that has previously been intensively farmed.
The application has yet to be considered by Monmouthshire Council.
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