Cornwall Environmental Consultants have designed solar farms that generate power and promote local ecology
The southwest is set to lead the way in utilising solar technology by setting up a 6,000 panel solar farm that will be not only useful but attractive.
Cornwall Environmental Consultants, who have designed the farms, plan on growing wildflowers and letting sheep graze between the rows of angled solar panels.
While the two metre high panels collect the sun’s energy and feed it directly into the national grid, the remaining space will provide a home for wildlife.
Although the main priority of each three hectare development is to produce up to five megawatts of electricity, all those involved realise the importance of them fitting in with the landscape.
CEC manager Phil Hills says: “We will be assessing the landscape and wildlife impact of these solar farms, helping developers to pick the right sites and avoid those places which will be most sensitive.
“We will look at where they can be seen from, how they affect the character of an area, and how habitats and species will be affected. We hope that in the right place and with the right management, solar farms can become havens for wildlife over the next 25 years.”
A team, including consultants in planning, flood risk, archaeology, landscape and ecology, has been put together by CEC to help developers apply for planning permission for solar farms.
The increase in interest in solar power is a result of PV technology becoming more affordable and the Feed In Tariff, which aims to stimulate the growth of renewable energy by guaranteeing the price at which electricity generated will be bought.
Cornwall is the sunniest county in the country but developers plan to look at potential new sites across the southwest as far north as Bristol.