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Discussion > Help with Solar Farm Objection

Hi Pete,

The sizes in the infographic were from the developer's planning application - however the developer just gave a text list of dimensions in metres making them hard to visualise. So to help the councillors visualise the size of the bloody thing I converted the measurements to feet and inches and drew all the building to scale next to human figures. Similarly the developer gave the area in hectares - so again I converted it into a more familiar form - 30 football pitches and 1.5miles of security fencing!! Feel free to copy and paste my doc with the figures for the solar farm near you.

The council doc I linked contains a summary of all the valid grounds for objection we submitted. I also have a technical appendix which debunks some of the developer's claims about number of homes powered and equivalent number of cars 'taken off the road'. I will try to dig out a pdf of that when I get a chance. Good luck.

Aug 13, 2015 at 10:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterChilli

Key point to remember is that the developer will always attempt to downplay the impacts eg. by choosing large unfamiliar meaurement units which give small sounding numbers - so it's your job to convert them into familiar units and large numbers.

Similarly the developer will overstate and outright lie about the alleged benefits and will always choose unfamiliar large sounding numbers (eg. tonnes of CO2 saved and thousands of 'homes powered' and 'cars taken off the road') Most people don't even run a check on these claims and their assumptions. If you run the numbers you'll invariably find they're misleading at best and total bullshit at worst.

Aug 13, 2015 at 10:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterChilli

Hi, we are in the same situation as Pete, just been notified Genatec of their application to build a 5MWp 408 racks of 19,600 solar panels. The area is in the field behind us, our lovely views surrounded by farm fields will now be spoilt by a section to the left having all these panels and sub stations and network. Any help would be much appreciated as we don't know where to start with our objection. The value of our property on its own will be greatly decreased for one thing as well as the detrimental visual effects on the otherwise unspoilt countryside views. Any guidance please gratefully received.

Sep 7, 2015 at 10:51 AM | Unregistered CommenterKim

Hi Kim,

If you send me your email address I will send you the email I sent the company proposing the solar farm at the back of me. It is somewhat site specific in places but my help. We haven't heard anything from the company since proposing ours as they were doing an initial 'what do you think', all the local residents sent letters of objection but we will have to wait and see!

Sep 7, 2015 at 8:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterPete

Hi all,

I've only just noticed this thread. I have objected to lots of solar farm applications over the last 3 years. If you get the Bish to give you my email address, I can send you some examples. At the moment your best line of objection is if the site contains some BMV land (grade 3a and above).

Sep 17, 2015 at 8:38 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Dear all,

We recently fought off a huge solar 'farm' of 170 acres right next to our village.

Luckily the village set up a committee to fight it and commissioned a website which was regularly updated.

They got really well organised and looked at every aspect.

The company (Rethink Energy of Reading) tried every trick. Withdrew and came back with a slightly smaller plan. It was actually recommended for approval but was rejected 7 - 3.

Suggest you go to the website, it may help. - www.bridgham.org.uk

Sep 24, 2015 at 4:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterSue

Thanks for the link Sue and congratualtions on preventing the solar farm near you. Some useful info on your website, however I think the repeated references to the developer's PR firm being involved in **FRACKING** (red capital letters) are ill advised. It would take a school child 5 minutes comparing the stats for a shale well and solar farm to tell you shale makes infinitely more sense than solar: ie. it creates large amounts of reliable, storable, low cost energy, from a small land plot with low environmental impact. Whereas solar is the exact opposite: creating a small amount of unreliable, unstorable, high cost energy from a huge land area with large environmental impact. As a solar objector I would support well regulated local shale development since the cost / benefit ratio is excellent.

Couple of factual errors on your site:

> " At this time of year [the solar farm] would only produce energy 12% of the time"

This is incorrect. The solar panels will be producing *some* energy whenever it's light. However, averaged over the entire year the output will only be 10% of the name plate capacity of the panels due to day/night/seasons and cloudiness).

> "The company says around 2/3rds of the energy created is lost when it's transported"

I know your link to an ITV news report makes this claim but I can assure you it's either a misquote or a mistake by the journalist. Transmission losses from the solar farm are likely to be less than 10%. Perhaps the developer was refering to the efficiency of the solar panels in converting the incoming light energy into electrical energy. These 'module losses' could well amount to 2/3rds but that's irrelevant to the discussion.

I think it's important to keep all criticisms accurate and factual - leave it to the solar subsidy farmers to discredit themselves by making up false and misleading claims.

Sep 27, 2015 at 2:41 AM | Unregistered CommenterChilli

Out of interest, I have heard that there have been some significant advances with solar cells, with costs falling drastically, creation of “super capacitors” to store energy, and with solar panels, now, that are transparent, yet still provide power (so could be windows). This information is a classic “from a friend of a friend of a friend who heard on a train”, but can anyone tell me where I could verify (or refute) these claims?

Sep 27, 2015 at 6:47 PM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

Am I not allowed Right Of Reply to your comments above?

Sep 29, 2015 at 10:56 AM | Unregistered Commentersue

An odd question, sue. Have you not read much of the Bishop’s work, and the resulting comments? Anyone can say whatever they like, so long as it is not (too) offensive or obscene and (preferably) not too far off-topic. Gird your loins and fill your boots, to mix a couple of metaphors, then reply away!

Sep 29, 2015 at 2:24 PM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

Response to ‘Chilli’ and his claim of so called ‘factual errors’ – 27th Sept 2015

The quotes are what the solar farm owner (Tim Dobson) actually said on TV.

He said the 8 million he spent on it was “a waste of money”.

We all saw it. They are not ‘misquotes’. They are accurate and factual.

Maybe you should contact him yourself if you question this?

Regarding fracking I think you are ignoring the evidence that shows it is a very bad idea in this country.

Any positives are ‘spin’ by the oil companies and their PR people who lobby the government.

As for ‘well managed’ fracking – read ‘well managed’, ‘best practice’ solar farms – PR speak.

Oct 1, 2015 at 2:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterSue

Hi Chilli,

Having read the previous threads I would be very interested in reading your technical appendix debunking some of the developer's claims as we have just had an application submitted next to a small hamlet with grade 1 & II listed properties and are in the process of writing our letters of objection this week.

Your visual ideas are valuable and I'm going to include a similar one but any ammunition would be appreciated.

Oct 1, 2015 at 3:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterSandy

Hi Sandy,

Here's a link to my 'Solar Facts' appendix on dropbox - setting out the technical case against solar. As discussed, you're better leading your objection on the damage to the countryside and misuse of farmland. However, I think it's also worth making these technical arguments and querying the developer's dodgy technical claims. The councillors will be weighing up the benefits versus the costs - so it's important to question benefits, not just point out the costs.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/6pc1acalqmtzcmx/Solar%20Facts%20with%20pics.pdf?dl=0

Note: the calcs included are specific to the solar farm I was opposing (A 10MW 40,000 panel monstrosity) so you'd need to update the figures with the specifics of your development. Also this was written in 2014 so you'll need to update the subsidy calcs too.

I know this document swayed the vote of at least one councillor who had never heard these arguments before.
My favourite part was when I realised the "1200 cars taken off the road" claim was bollo and the solar farm would, in fact, only offset the CO2 of 44 cars !!

Oct 1, 2015 at 6:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterChilli

Reading thru it again, you can probably cut the number of 'homes powered' still further by including the energy used for transport by a typical household. (Especially since they want us all to drive electric cars).

David Mackay estimates this as 40kWh per person per day. 
http://www.withouthotair.com/c3/page_29.shtml
So that's 2.3 people per houshold x 40kWh perday x 365 days = about 33,000 kWh pa.

That brings the number of 'homes powered' with electricity, heat and transport down to only 177 from the original claim of 3197. Not much return for wrecking an area of 30 football pitches of beautiful countryside!!

Oct 1, 2015 at 7:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterChilli

Sue

I have not commented on this thread because I am no great wiz on Solar but I know a fair bit about fracking. If you think that fracking in this country is a bad idea then you are being misled. please tell me what you think and I will do my best to help put you right ^.^
No problem if you do not want advice.

Oct 1, 2015 at 10:51 PM | Registered CommenterDung

SandyS, Mimi, Pete: If you want a second pair of eyes to check over any calcs you might want to include in your objection docs I'm happy to help. Just dropbox me a link.

Oct 2, 2015 at 2:07 AM | Unregistered CommenterChilli

Regarding fracking I think you are ignoring the evidence that shows it is a very bad idea in this country.
Sue, the first question I have to raise with this sentence is, “What evidence?” That any potential site will attract swarms of the great unwashed, who will proceed to trash the countryside they claim to be protecting? That is about the strongest evidence that it is a bad idea – however, as there are already many frack sites established in this country, this does contradict that they are a bad idea for any other reason. Even the RSPB has sites on some of its reserves, some having been there several decades; quite why that organisation should be so against fracking now is a bit of a mystery.

As an aside, why has everyone ignored my query above, about significant advances with solar cells, with costs falling drastically, creation of “super capacitors” to store energy, and with solar panels, now, that are transparent, yet still provide power? While this information is a classic “from a friend of a friend of a friend who overheard on a train”, can anyone tell me where I could verify (or refute) these claims? Surely, someone can help, there.

Oct 2, 2015 at 11:51 AM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

@Radical Rodent

Agree with you on shale gas but since this thread is about 'Help with Solar Farm Objection' I'd suggest we try and keep it on topic. A few solar objectors appear to have found it via google and I hope they find some useful info.

Re advances in solar panels and storage: i'm not aware of any solar farm planning applications including any provision for energy storage. Nor of any significant advances in the performance of solar panels which would invalidate any of the criticisms laid out in my doc. The damage to the countryside, misuse of farmland and subsidies paid by the poor remain the same.

Oct 2, 2015 at 12:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterChilli

Penfold

I read about that some time ago and I think it was on a Platts report but I am not certain. It sounded very convincing but I did not talk about it for the following reasons:

The USA and other locations have deserts and other large areas available for efficient solar but the UK does not.
The efficient solar panels are not yet on the UK market (they are still selling the old crap).
The storage solutions are not yet real world available (when I last read about it).
Having seen how the government plastered wind farms all over the UK I did not want to encourage another explosion of ugly and space hungry development ^.^

Oct 2, 2015 at 1:26 PM | Registered CommenterDung

What Grade is the agricultural land? Grades 1 & 2 ought to be a definite no-no for development as it would be using the most productive land.

Is the site near or in a National Park or AONB? Even if not in one of these, a solar park may affect views in and out of them.

It is my view that planning officers are approving or recommending approval of almost every planning application and then leaving it to committees to approve or refuse. Most of the officers are sandal-wearing greenies anyway, keen to see these solar farms/wind turbines saving the planet. But maybe I'm biased!

Oct 6, 2015 at 5:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterGrumpy

Hi,

I am looking to object to a proposed solar farm in close proximity to my property.

Would anyone commenting on this thread who has been successful is getting a solar farm refused planning permission be so kind as to email me any supporting statements and reasons which they used to successful persuade the Planning Authority not to grant permission.

Sep 8, 2016 at 1:45 AM | Unregistered CommenterKevin Gillespie

Kevin Gillespie, obviously read this thread, started before the last election.

Try the Global Warming Policy Foundation.

You cannot oppose Planning Permission based on a flawed business plan, however if the Proposal is supported by, and based on a flawed business plan especially if dependent on taxpayer subsidies, that may not be as generous as they were a year or so ago ..... you might have something for the Planning Committee to think about. At a local level, the political colour of the authority may be the determining factor.

Sep 8, 2016 at 3:44 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie