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Energy company consults on two huge solar farms in North Devon and Cornwall

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: March 20, 2013

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A renewable energy company is hoping to build two of its largest solar farms in the South West on sites in North Devon and North Cornwall.

Lightsource Renewable Energy aims to install solar panels at a 12.5 hectare site on farmland in Launceston and another on 16.25 hectares of agricultural land at Buckland Filleigh, near Great Torrington.

The company, which is yet to submit a formal planning application, is holding public consultations about both proposals over the coming week and proposes, if successful, to have both built by early autumn.

When constructed both solar farms, which could cost up to £8m to build, would have a lifespan of 25 years and produce 11.4MW collectively.

Conor McGuigan, Business Development Director, said: "Both sites were chosen primarily due to their lack of visibility and remoteness, and the fact we can strengthen field patterns on the sites with the hedgerow planting enhancing biodiversity.

"It was felt that the low visibility of the sites ensures the landscape character would not be harmed. When we develop a new solar farm, we are entering into an agreement with the landowner and council for a period of 25 years.

"We seek to build strong relationships with the local residents that are going to be our long-term neighbours."

It is estimated that when combined the two installations will generate the equivalent of the power used by 3,336 homes.

Lightsource has 26 solar farms operational or under construction in Devon and Cornwall a with only a few of its 62 developments outside the South West. A spokeswoman said that the South West was popular site for solar development.

She said: "Based on various studies, it has been proven that the South West of England benefits from high irradiance levels and this probably contributes to the popularity of installing solar PV."

The public consultation in Launceston takes place this Friday at Lawhitton Village Hall, from 5.30pm to 8pm, and in Buckland Filleigh at the village hall, on Monday, from 5pm to 8pm.

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