Ash Solar Farm

9th August,2023

17:00 – 18:30

The Hub Coleford, Church Street,
Coleford, BA3 5NQ

Ash Solar Farm

Tyler Hill Renewables Limited is preparing to submit a proposal for a solar farm with battery energy storage located on the fields at Ash Farm, Charlton Rd, Coleford, Radstock, BA3 5EX. Ahead of submitting a formal planning application to Somerset Council , we intend to conduct a Public Consultation event with both residents and businesses located within the area to gather views and any comments on the proposed development. The site comprises three fields totalling approximately 6.41 hectares, which will be leased to accommodate the project

The proposed development will have a capacity of 3.8MW from solar and 10MWh from battery energy storage. This will approximately export 5.3GWh of clean renewable energy equating to power around 1768 homes per annum, offsetting 1,024 tonnes of CO2 per year, making a vital contribution to climate change targets and the country’s transition away from fossil fuels.  

The northern field of the site is currently used for vehicle storage whereas the southern parcels of land are pastoral fields. The solar farm will be designed to allow sheep to graze under and around the panels during operation, providing a dual benefit of agriculture and energy generation. No agricultural land will be lost as the land will be reinstated to its former use at the end of the lifecycle of the solar project estimated at 40 years.  

Why here?

This site has been carefully selected as part of a detailed feasibility process which includes analysis of grid capacity, availability of potential sites, and material planning considerations including; cultural heritage, ecology and biodiversity, flood risk, landscape visual impact, and land grading. 

A detailed feasibility of the site has confirmed that the area has a technically and commercially viable grid connection. The area benefits from a nearby point of connection to the electricity network, avoiding excessive and unnecessary disruption and roadworks. 

The electricity network (or grid) was not designed for the complexities of zero-carbon energy. Consequently, there are relatively few locations where the grid can viably accommodate a solar farm, with proximity to existing substations or overhead power lines being crucial. 

Grid analysis has identified capacity at the 33kV overhead line, Charlton Road, near Kilmersdon, Radstock, and has established it as a point of connection. To make the project financially viable, a potential site must be no more than 1.8 km away from the point of connection. Therefore, only landowners within this radius were approached.  

The Proposal

Solar farms use photovoltaic (PV) panels to generate energy from sunlight and distribute through the existing electricity network to homes and businesses in the local area. The solar PV arrays will be laid out in south-facing rows and will not exceed 3m at their highest point. They will be fixed to the ground by metal racks positioned within the existing field boundaries, minimising the need to remove hedges or trees.Battery energy storage systems are housed in units that look like containers. These are required for when the amount of power generated exceeds demand. At these times battery storage systems charge up and store the energy. When that situation reverses, i.e.  demand exceeds supply, the batteries release power back into the grid therefore smoothening out the peaks and troughs in power generation and help match it to demand. The proposals include 4 x battery energy storage units with associated infrastructure which will be located alongside the solar farm  

The proposed development will also include ancillary equipment, including:

  • Inverters to convert the direct current (DC) electricity output from the solar arrays into usable alternating current (AC) power for the electricity distribution network. 
  • Transformers to step up the low voltage electricity produced by the solar panels to high voltage needed by the network. 
  • An onsite substation.  
  • A 2m high post and wire deer fence will be constructed around the development, with vehicle gates. 
  • Fixed CCTV cameras will be installed to provide security coverage of the site. These will only monitor the development areas and will not capture images outside of the solar farm. 
  • No external lighting will be required other than temporarily during construction. Emergency lighting will be brought to the site only when required. Underground cables will be used to connect the solar areas to the main point of connection. There will be no new overhead pylons or cables. 

The layout has been designed to minimise the impact on nearby residents, including setting the development away from properties, retaining and planting new hedges for screening and using the existing farm access as the main site access. At the end the 40-year operational life, the equipment will be removed, and the entire site restored to its current use as per the legal obligation to the landowner.

Traffic and Access

Once operational, solar farms generate almost no traffic. Visits for maintenance are required every couple of months. The construction process is rapid, lasting only a few months. Site access to the land is expected to utilise the existing farm access at Charlton Road. The detailed construction access procedures will be confirmed following detailed analysis in a supporting Transport Statement. 

Benefits of Ash Solar Farm

The proposed solar and battery storage farm will contribute to the county’s growing need for clean electricity generation. In recent years, solar power has become one of the lowest cost forms of energy generation, which now be constructed and operated without public subsidies. Solar and battery energy storage farms produce no pollution and make very little noise during operation which should not be audible outside the site. The panels will be positioned within existing field boundaries and will be no higher than 3m tall. New hedgerows will be incorporated within the development in order to screen the development from views.  

It will bring considerable environmental and community benefits, including:  

  • Supporting the UK’s goal of net-zero carbon by 2050 and the target of a fully decarbonised electricity network by 2035. 
  • Contributing a solution to the climate emergency declared by the Government, and Somerset Council in 2019.  
  • Solar farms and Battery Energy Storage Systems (BESS) provide an important source of rental income to farmers through farm diversification.  
  • The site has been designed to allow sheep to graze alongside the operation of the solar farm. 
  • The PV arrays and equipment will only occupy some parts of the site. This leaves scope to enhance the biodiversity of the site.  Scrub and scattered trees at the boundaries of the site will be retained and enhanced to create corridors and shelter/foraging areas for wildlife including bats, birds, hedgehogs and small mammals. 
  • New hedges and trees will be planted to screen the development from views and will also help increase biodiversity. 
  • All public footpaths will remain open during the construction and operational periods. 

Surveys and Assessments

To help us design the scheme and ensure that all impacts are fully understood, Tyler Hill Renewables Limited have commissioned the following surveys and assessments:  

  • Landscape and visual impact assessment – helps determine the maximum height of the development, the position of equipment, and how to minimise the landscape and visual effect of the development on the surrounding area. 
  • Heritage and archaeology assessments – identifies and assesses listed buildings, scheduled monuments, and conservation areas located in close proximity to the area. The development has been positioned away from listed buildings with additional screening proposed to reduce visibility. A geophysical survey will also be undertaken to help assess the potential for archaeological features below the ground. 
  • Construction traffic assessment and management plan –determines the most appropriate transport route and arrangements for construction traffic. The assessment confirms that the construction period expected to last no more than 26 weeks. 
  • Arboriculture survey –identifies important trees or hedges around the site and ensures these are retained with root protection areas unaffected where possible. 
  • Flood risk assessment and surface water management survey – the majority of the site is located within Flood Zone 1 which is the lowest risk level of flooding, with a small area located in Flood Zone 3. The assessment confirms that the proposed development will not increase flood risk elsewhere. 
  • Ecological appraisals –advises on the types of habitats present on the site and how these, and any protected species, can be protected and enhanced by the development. 
  • Agricultural land grade – no agricultural land will be lost. The site is currently used for arable farming and the solar farm will be designed to allow sheep to graze under and around the panels during operation thus providing a dual benefit of agriculture and energy generation. An Agricultural Land Classification Survey has been undertaken and shows that the majority of the site is located within Grade 3B agricultural land. 
  • Noise – a noise survey is being undertaken which will help position the inverters and transformers away from residential properties and Public Rights of Way so that they will not be audible outside the site. 
  • Glint and glare – solar panels are designed to absorb as much light as possible and the assessment confirms where additional screening is needed to minimise any effects of glint and glare to the surrounding area.

The Team

Ash Solar Farm is being developed by Tyler Hill Renewables Limited, who are vastly experienced in the development and construction of solar photovoltaic and flexible energy generation facilities. Tyler Hill Renewables Limited is a London based company, developing utility scale solar, battery storage and distributed solar projects in the United Kingdom. They are committed to work on decarbonisation projects to respond to the threat of climate change and to contribute to the global transition to sustainability. 

Ash Solar Farm Limited will also work with the landowners, local stakeholders, planners, and the power networks to supply renewable, green power into the grid for local use. 

Acting on behalf of Ash Solar Farm Limited and Tyler Hill Renewables Limited, are our experienced planning & design consultants Third Revolution Projects, who have been working in collaboration with our team to prepare and submit the planning application for Ash Solar Farm. Tyler Hill Renewables Limited has also partnered with RE Projects Development Limited, who are experienced in providing customised services for utility scale PV and battery storage projects ranging from origination and initial site feasibility to development and procurement. 

Frequently Asked Questions

  • The Government commissioned an independent paper on National Food Strategy, which was published in late 2021 (https://www.nationalfoodstrategy.org/the-report/).  It made a few key observations:
  • The next big shock to our food supply will almost certainly be caused by climate change in the form of extreme weather events and catastrophic harvest failures.  It follows that addressing climate change will improve the security of or food supply. 
  • Food security is not the same as food self-sufficiency.  Growing all of the food that we requirement in this country would be a high-risk approach as one bad season (drought / flood etc) would damage our entire supply.  Instead, food security is best delivered by diversifying our supply chain and importing a proportion of our requirement to spread the risk to supply. 
  • We do not have the climate to allow us to grow all of the food that consumers want in this country.  Similarly, we cannot consume all of some types of food that we can grow, so import and export of food is an important part of our national food strategy. 
  • The UK’s Agricultural Report for 2020/21 notes that 71% of our land is used for farming (https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/agriculture-in-the-united-kingdom-2021/summary) 
  • Solar Energy UK published a paper about the Facts About Solar Energy (https://solarenergyuk.org/resource/everything-under-the-sun-the-facts-about-solar-energy/?cn-reloaded=1 ).  In it, they note that to meet the government’s net zero target, the Climate Change Committee estimates that we will need between 75-90GW of solar by 2050. Their analysis indicates this would mean solar farms would at most account for approximately 0.4-0.6% of UK land – less than the amount currently used for golf courses or growing Christmas trees. 
  • This means that we would need to use less than 1% of the land currently in use for food production in order to meaningfully mitigate an existential threat to our food security.  Given that climate change is already causing significant (much greater than 1%) downturn in crop yields, this seems like a very sensible thing to do. 

Absolutely. Solar works efficiently everywhere in the UK as solar panels do not require direct sunlight to operate. They produce energy all year round and have the potential to produce over a quarter of the UK’s power on sunny days. 

No, they take up very little space. Even under 2050 Net Zero targets, where the installed capacity is expected to grow from the current 14GW to 70GW, solar farms would occupy 0.5% of the UK’s land, which is less than what is currently used for golf courses and airports. 

Not at all. Research shows that solar panel’s carbon payback is 1-4 years. They generate a hundred times more energy than it takes to manufacture them over a 40-year warranty period.  

A UK survey found that solar farms can support declining wildlife species, especially when managed for conservation. Birds like linnets, yellowhammers, and skylarks were observed, along with mammals like brown hares. Solar farms also provide habitats for butterflies and bees, potentially benefiting nearby agriculture through increased pollination. The report emphasizes the importance of conservation-focused management to promote biodiversity on solar farms. Well-designed and well-managed solar farms can contribute to addressing climate change and biodiversity loss. (https://solarenergyuk.org/news/solar-farms-can-be-wildlife-havens/)

You can most definitely recycle solar panels! Up to 99% of materials in a solar panel are recyclable and are built to last for decades.  

According to government surveys, solar is considered the most popular energy source. Records from 2021 show that 90% of public support solar, with 81% saying that they would not oppose a solar farm being built in their area.

There is an extremely low risk of such an event occurring. A minimum of two types of fire detection system will be deployed, (e.g., optical, heat, chemical etc.). The fire detection system will be installed with fire resistant wires and components. Active temperature monitoring will be set up to minimise the likelihood of propagation across cells, modules and cubes. The systems have sensors at the cell, module, unit and system level and the necessary software to warn or automatically shut down in the event of a problem. 

Thank you for taking the time to look at our proposals. We would love to hear your views on our proposals and Tyler Hill Renewables Limited will use your feedback to finalise the proposals before submitting the application to Somerset Council.  

After our successful public consultation at Writhlington Village Hall and Recreation Ground on 26th June, we will be holding another one on Wednesday 9th August between 17:00 – 18:30 at The Hub Coleford, Church Street, Coleford, BA3 5NQ. 

We would also like to know your views via this questionnaire here. Alternatively, you can get in contact through our email address: planning@tylerhillrenewables.com 

The Council will undertake further public consultation before determining the application. The Council has 13 weeks to make its decision.

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