CONSULTATION has started on a community solar farm project at Lymm.
While matters of development usually focus on housing, road maintenance and parking issues in the village, a positive and exciting opportunity has now arisen to pursue a project that could see a community solar farm developed in Lymm.
Local residents are being invited to a public consultation event to understand and offer feedback on the plans for this renewable energy project before the proposals move forward.
Lymm Community Energy (LCE) has secured funding from the Rural Community Energy Fund to assess the feasibility of constructing and operating a 5MW solar farm on land owned by Wildersmoor Hall Farm on Whiteleggs Lane, Lymm.
For anyone unfamiliar with LCE, the organisation was created in 2014 and is a not-for-profit Community Benefit Society established to enable local people and organisations to invest in renewable energy and energy efficiency installations. Notable achievements include putting solar panels on the roofs of the four Lymm village primary schools which since installation has saved 135 tonnes of CO2e emissions and generated 500,000 kWh – enough clean electricity to power 135 homes for a year.
Commenting on the project LCE Director, Richard Pearce, said, “Following the success of the primary school solar panel installations, our local shareholders have been encouraging us to consider further projects to benefit the local community”.
“The proposed solar farm meets all our objectives as a Community Benefit Society and our Community Benefit Fund would use financial surpluses from the solar farm to support local community organisations and projects”.
LCE recently engaged the services of local company Fichtner Consulting Engineers, who have extensive experience of solar farms in the UK. A technical feasibility study has been completed and concludes that the site is suitable for a solar farm development and that the land available is more than sufficient for the scale of project being considered.
The development would follow agricultural good practice guidelines for solar farms, including using the land for grazing and encouraging biodiversity.
The potential to supply local residents, businesses and community facilities with electricity from the solar farm is also being investigated during the feasibility study together with the scope for battery storage.
Local support and consultation are an important component of the project feasibility report. LCE is running an initial information event on 26th and 27th June, 10am-4pm, at Lymm Hub (Lymm Library, Sanctuary Hub and Business Centre). The public is invited to drop in to ask questions and make comments about the development. The solar farm public consultation will then continue beyond this date via local media sources and direct communication with contacts in the areas that neighbour the proposed site.
The LCE solar farm project is one of several information stands available to visit at the June event. The event is run by LEAF, who themselves will launch as a new umbrella to bring together a number of local groups focused on environmental themes.
For more details about LCE and the solar farm project, contact Richard Pearce on 07976 352914, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit https://lowcarbonlymm.org.uk/