Features and Benefits
The Borough Council of King’s Lynn and West Norfolk is working towards reducing their contribution to climate change and developing a strategy and action plan to address environmental issues.
The Borough Council is also dedicated to following the Government’s legal commitment to cutting carbon emissions to net zero by 2050 (Climate Change Act 2008 (2050 Target Amendment) Order 2019). To achieve net zero by 2050 the UK will require a rapid and expanded deployment of low carbon power, including solar.
The Sedgeford Hall solar farm will make a significant contribution to helping the UK meet its targets for renewable energy and will save thousands of tonnes of carbon.
The site at Sedgeford Hall has been selected because it is close to connection to the grid, is in a Flood Zone 1 (lowest risk), is in Grade 3B land and is outside sensitive ecological, environmental and landscape designation.
Through additional hedgerow planting and the creation of a large area of wildflower rich grassland, the farm will increase biodiversity on, and surrounding, the site.
A solar farm allows the land to rest and rejuvenate while it is not being used, improving the soil condition for when it returns to agricultural use.
Careful site planning, screening and additional planting will reduce any potential visual impact from the site.
Regener8 Power is actively working to ensure that the solar project delivers net biodiversity gain on the site and where possible on surrounding areas.
In collaboration with our landscape and ecology consultants, plans will be submitted to develop and implement nature-based and natural climate solutions.
Carbon neutrality for the project will be achieved through the regeneration and enhancement of the of the local ecology and landscape. Integrating the land use from intensive farming to solar power generation makes these initiatives possible, contributing to the efforts to combat climate change.
Construction of the solar farm will take between 12-16 weeks. Once operating the site needs minimal maintenance.
Solar power is one of the most popular forms of renewable energy in the world. The benefits of using solar farms to produce electricity include:
- It is quicker to build than other energy sources such as nuclear power stations, meaning that the construction process will only take 12-16 weeks to complete.
- The noise produced from solar farms is much less than from other energy sources.
- It provides electricity without producing carbon dioxide and other harmful emissions.
- It transforms energy from the sun to produce electricity, making use of a continuous energy source for human needs.
- Modern solar PV panels can produce electricity during cloudy days.
- It allows farmland a break from intense farming, which will allow it to replenish its nutrients and have a beneficial impact on the land’s fertility.
- It often allows grazing of animals to continue while the solar farm is operational, although this is dependent on the characteristics of the site.
- It can help to improve local biodiversity, with Reneger8 planning to introduce habitat enhancements as part of their project.
- Solar farms are temporary and the land will revert to its previous state at the end of the project's operational life.
The cost of solar electricity
It is cheaper to generate electricity using solar power than it is to use nuclear, gas or fossil fuels. Due to developments in technology, the cost of renewable energy is falling rapidly, making projects more cost-effective. This is only likely to increase as the UK government attempts to reach its aim for carbon emissions to reach net zero by 2050 and invests more in renewable energy.
The fight against climate change
Climate change is not a problem for the future, but is affecting us in the present. The world’s leading climate scientists have predicted that we have less than 12 years to limit global warming to a maximum of 1.5C or we will be faced with a climate breakdown. Global temperatures are higher now than they have been since records began, with 17 of the 18 warmest years on record having occurred since 2001.
This is a direct result of human activity and the way in which levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere have increased since the start of the industrial revolution to the point where there is now more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere than there has been at any point over the past 800,000 years.
The Government has made a legal commitment to cutting carbon emissions to net zero by 2050 (Climate Change Act 2008 (2050 Target Amendment) Order 2019). Renewable energy, such as solar power, is essential in achieving these aims and generating electricity without producing carbon dioxide to help to reduce our impact on climate change.
If societies fail to act to reduce carbon emissions, then scientists predict that global temperatures will continue to rise and weather conditions will become more extreme. As a result, sea levels could rise by 0.5 metres, impacting the lives of 1 billion people by 2050 as the risk of flooding is increased by 100%. Additionally, more than a billion people would be exposed to extreme heatwaves every 5 years and hurricanes will become more intense and dangerous.
A tried and tested technology
The first solar panel was invented more than 100 years ago and solar panels have been used commercially since the 1970s, in which time the technology has developed massively. As the use of solar panels has spread more widely, the technology has advanced and the cost has dropped. Since 2010, the cost of installing solar panels has fallen by more than 75% and continues to drop as more investment is placed into renewable energy.
The efficiency of solar panels has also increased significantly in recent years as technology has continued to advance exponentially. Most solar panels now produce about 20-25% efficiency (i.e. the proportion of the sun's energy that can be converted into electricity) and are set to improve even further in coming years.
Solar and the countryside
Solar farms take up proportionately little land in the UK. The UK has more than 59 million acres of land, of which 45 million acres are used for agricultural purposes and 11 million acres is in arable production. To produce 10 GW of solar power, enough to provide electricity for three million homes, would only take 60,000 acres or 0.1% of UK land area. To put this in perspective, it is estimated that 660,000 acres of land, or more than 1%, is used for golf courses in the UK.
Most importantly, developing a solar farm is not the same as concreting over the countryside, as the panels are temporary and can quickly, and easily, be removed and the land restored.