Solar Farm Landscaping

Posted on: Tuesday , 7 July 2015 Posted By: admin

Solar farms are cropping up more and more on the landscape in the UK, they are a great option for some farmers, using their fields to house the solar modules which harness the sun’s energy. The modules convert the sunlight to electrical energy which can then be fed directly into the electricity grid. It is hoped that within the next 7 years the UK will get approximately 15% of its energy from green/renewable sources. There are 7 new sites proposed for rural Essex which, if all go ahead, will have approximately 315,000 panels which in turn will provide renewable electricity to around 20,000 homes.

A rigorous planning procedure is in place to judge if the site is suitable before approval can be granted. The suitability of the site, potential impact on the locality and relevant renewable energy targets are some of the factors considered. The site can usually be anything from 1 to 100 acres. 25 acres should power approximately 1515 homes and save in the region of 2150 tonnes of CO2.*
Not only does a solar farm present a stable source of income for landowners, it is a reversible method of harnessing renewable energy and can provide a habitat for birds and insects, encouraging biodiversity which otherwise would not be present. The options available to the site would be to sow a wildflower crop around the modules or a simple grass crop.

At Haskett we have been involved in the landscaping of several solar farms. The work we do is essentially to meet planning requirements and to enhance the site. In order to meet these requirements we would include the following:

  • application of herbicide to remove unwanted plants/weeds
  • cultivation of the areas around the modules
  • sowing with wildflower mixes or amenity grass
  • hedge and tree planting

We also undertake maintenance of solar farm sites which includes (but is not limited to):

  • mowing
  • herbicide application
  • hedge cutting

With correct management a solar farm can provide not only renewable energy for thousands of homes, but also a wonderful habitat encouraging biodiversity of flora and fauna of the natural world.

<p.*based on average annual consumption figures for a house of 3300kWh of electricity (source Dept of Energy and Climate Change, Ofgem)

Solar panels in field