Battle primary schoolkids enjoy educational visit to Pashley Solar Farm
Last week a group of Year 6 children from Ninfield Primary School in Battle spent a day learning about climate change and renewable energy with Primrose Solar, owners and operators of nearby Pashley Solar Farm.
The group of 26 spent the morning learning about climate change and electricity production in the classroom with a session outside in the sunshine exploring how solar panels generate electricity. The sessions were led by Lorna Lopes, Primrose’s Educational Consultant, supported by Ruby Freeman, a student of Materials Science and Engineering at Imperial College and Wendy Greenbury of Primrose Solar.
At lunchtime they headed off to the solar farm for a picnic amongst the cornflowers and poppies before embarking on a biodiversity study and tour of the solar farm conducted by Jamie Birch, Primrose Solar’s Project Manager. The students were able to touch a solar panel and learn about the different materials they were made of and how they generate electricity.
Lorna Watkins, Year 6 Class Teacher, said: “What an incredible day! The children were so engaged throughout and learnt plenty of new facts about solar energy. We feel privileged to have been shown around and invited.” The solar farm is very close to the school, but took many children by surprise as they had never noticed it before, and they were excited to learn that their houses and school were being powered by the solar farm via the local grid.
The children said:
The school and solar farm are located in the constituency of Bexhill and Battle, whose former MP was Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Greg Barker, now Huw Merriman, MP, and just a few miles from the constituency for Amber Rudd, current Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change.
Giles Clark, CEO, Primrose Solar, said: “We’re very pleased that our solar farm is helping young people learn about climate change and the importance of renewable energy. Huw Merriman and Amber Rudd should be proud to have this nearby. It’s a great shame however that there will be no more projects like this in the future if their government’s policy to end subsidies for solar panels comes to fruition. Solar energy is actually helping to bring down consumers’ energy bills in the long run, as well as helping us to tackle climate change and improve the UK’s energy security.”
The government is currently consulting on policies which would slash the subsidies for solar power for both domestic and commercial solar panel installations. Ruby Freeman, Imperial College student, said: “Engaging and educating the new generation of energy-consumers is so important to the future of renewables investment and lobbying. I was taught so much about climate change in school – the ‘debate’ as to whether it is a reality – without emphasis on the solutions and need for more people to research and improve sustainable sources. Seeing lots of rows of solar panels is a much more positive way of children thinking about climate change.”
Pashley Solar Farm was connected to the grid in February this year. With an installed capacity of 11.5 MW it generates enough power for 3,700 typical homes and saves approximately 5,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year.
Race Solar Farm opens to public for Solar Independence Day
Race Solar Farm near Lytchett Matravers will be open to the public on Saturday July 4th as part of the nationwide “Solar Independence Day” celebrations.
The solar farm, which is owned and operated by Primrose Solar, generates enough green electricity to power 2,400 typical homes and was connected to the grid in March 2014. Giles Clark, Chief Executive, Primrose Solar, said: “We want lots of people to come along and see the solar farm in action! If you live or work nearby, then it’s likely that your electricity will be coming from Race via the local grid. Solar power is a quiet and unobtrusive way of generating clean, renewable electricity and opening the solar farm for local visitors can showcase the wider benefits of solar electricity such as improving biodiversity and reducing carbon emissions.”
The solar farm will be open from 11 am to 3 pm on Saturday July 4th and the full address is Race Farm, Huntick Road, Lytchett Matravers, Poole, Dorset, BH16 6AP. Car parking is available near the entrance. Visitors are advised to wear closed-toe footwear such as Wellington boots, and to take caution when walking around the site and avoid touching any of the equipment.
As well as housing 23,460 solar panels, Race Farm also provides a habitat for many protected species, including 78 species of bird under conservation, as well as nine species of bat. There is a wetland habitat at the North Western edge of the site that is home to yellow wagtail birds as well as amphibians, reptiles and invertebrates.
Giles Clark added: “We’ve done a lot of work at Race to create and enhance habitats for wildlife, and while we can’t guarantee that you will see any rare species on July 4th we hope that people will come away with a better understanding of how solar energy can be really compatible with biodiversity and ecology.”
A series of Solar Independence Day open days are taking place across the country on Friday 3 and Saturday 4 July, spearheaded by the Solar Trade Association. Paul Barwell, CEO of the Solar Trade Association, said: “Solar Independence Day is a great way to showcase how versatile this technology is. We’ve got everything from a housing estate in Northumberland to a stately home in Aberdeenshire, a community solar farm in Hampshire to a waste facility in Berkshire, all generating clean, green home-grown electricity.”
Primrose Solar connects UK’s largest & greenest solar farm to grid
Primrose Solar connected the 48 MW solar farm in Hampshire, currently the largest solar farm operating in the UK.
The Southwick Estate Solar Farm near Fareham, Hampshire, has been connected to the grid and is now generating enough renewable electricity to supply the equivalent of approximately 14,500 average homes.
The 48 MW project is currently the largest solar farm operating in the UK.
The site is surrounded by woodland, with numerous hedgerows and a public footpath crossing it, so the most challenging aspect of the build was managing the construction work to ensure that there was minimal disruption to hedgerows and wildlife.
Southwick Solar Park is also notable for setting a new environmental standard for ground-mounted solar. Primrose Solar worked closely with Solarcentury, the solar company responsible for the construction, to ensure that environmental considerations were incorporated throughout the planning, construction and operational lifetime of the solar farm.
Initiatives during construction included: the use of solar-powered and biodiesel generators; recycling over the whole site including food and canteen waste; installation of composting permanent toilet facilities; car sharing scheme; hot and cold food facilities on site to prevent lunchtime vehicle traffic offsite; and the installation of CCTV running on hydrogen fuel cells.
The solar farm will also operate to the highest ecological standards during its 25-year lifetime. Primrose is working with Wychwood Biodiversity, co-authors of the BRE National Solar Centre guidelines on biodiversity in solar farms, to create a habitat management plan for the site, which is Grade 4 agricultural land considered unsuitable for growing crops.
Wildflowers will be sown using a native seed mix to help reverse declining pollinator species such as bees and butterflies whose habitats have been decimated by intensive farming practices in recent decades. Hedgerows, trees and ponds are also being enhanced as part of the habitat management plan for the site. Beehives and bat boxes will be installed in April; in autumn and winter, sheep will be grazed among the panels, so the land will be used for food production as well as for producing clean solar electricity.
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