Published: 12:26, 18 April 2021
| Updated: 07:03, 19 April 2021
A solar farm the size of 125 football pitches is proposed to be built on rural land north of Canterbury.
Located between Hoath and Chislet, the sprawling site would become the district’s biggest solar park if given the go-ahead.
Enso Energy, one of the UK’s largest renewable energy developers, is the firm behind the large-scale scheme, which would stretch across 250 acres of farmland.
The project is still in its very early stages, so the company says it cannot yet say how many thousands of panels will be installed, or how many homes will be powered as a result.
The land in question sits north of Island Road and Hersden, and is accessed of Marley Lane which links Hoath with Chislet.
Should the scheme get the green light, it will be known as the Hoath Solar Farm.
It will take about seven months to construct and will have a lifespan of 40 years.
Enso Energy believes the multi-million project can play a “crucial part” in making the district carbon neutral by 2050 - a target pledged by Canterbury City Council two years ago.
Ian Harding and Andrew King, two directors at the renewable energy firm, said: “We are in the early stages of developing our proposals for the solar farm.
“Our ambition is to use the latest solar technology to respond to the climate emergency recently declared by the council.
“The way we create energy has to change, and we believe that Hoath Solar Farm could play a crucial part in bringing that about.”
To mark the first step of the planning process, a screening opinion document has been submitted to the council to determine whether an environmental impact assessment would be required for the scheme.
While Enso is not stating how many homes could potentially be powered by the solar farm, the plans state the farm will generate 49.9 megawatts of electricity to the national grid.
Compared with other renewable energy developments, 49.9MW is enough to power about 10,000 homes.
Canterbury City Council leader Ben Fitter-Harding says he needs to see what unfolds with the plans before making up his mind on the project.
“It sounds like a very large scheme,” he said.
“Solar is a great technology, but that said, implementing these solar farms does have ecological impacts.
“I’m very pro-renewable energy, but it has to be the right place, size and have the right mitigation.
“We’ll have to wait and see what comes out in the application process. The council is keeping a close eye on it for sure.”
Last month, a bid by Vattenfall to build a solar farm south of the A299 Thanet Way in Herne Bay was given the seal of approval.
The site will generate enough electricity to power 5,000 homes.