Cleaner Sustainable Energy for Today and the Future

New Works Solar Farm will provide clean energy for over 8,650 homes

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The Climate Emergency

… and how Renewables help tackle it
coal power plant pollution

New Works was previously an open cast coal mine, producing fossil fuel for coal fired power stations from 2010 to 2013.

UK Government has stated that all coal fired power stations must be closed by 2025 as part of the UK Coal Phase Out Plan. Large proportions of the UK’s electricity requirement will have to be replaced by an alternative means under the Energy Transition Programme.

The UK has committed to a Net Zero target by 2050. By then our country will be using over 70% more electricity than today due in part to large scale housing developments and the increasing growth of electric vehicles. By 2035 the Government plans to phase out all new diesel and petrol vehicles.

Due to adverse climate impacts occurring sooner than predicted and as there are increasing concerns that action needs to be taken more urgently nationally and at a local level many councils, including Telford & Wrekin, have declared a climate emergency.

In line with the UK Government’s climate change target to be a net zero carbon emitter, Telford & Wrekin Council has also implemented a Carbon Neutral Target by 2030 with a Borough-wide action plan. Leading by example, this includes switching to 100% green tariff for all Council buildings and operating a 4MW solar farm.

The UK has one of the highest costs for electricity to consumers in Europe. It is in all our interests to find and implement ways of generating more affordable, clean electricity from projects such as New Works Solar Farm.

New Works Solar Farm will provide green energy to the local grid point at Ketley, which will be used to supply this clean energy to local homes and businesses in the vicinity.

coal power plant pollution

Why here?

Why we are looking at these fields

Significant amounts of renewable energy production will be required to meet Telford and Wrekin Council’s Carbon Neutral Target by 2030.

The location and size of a modern solar farm depends on grid capacity and also achieving a sufficient scale to be economically viable. The Telford and Wrekin district is highly constrained from a grid capacity perspective. Our investigations and discussions with the Distribution Network Operator (DNO) have identified that Ketley substation can provide a viable point of connection. We have therefore sought to identify a suitable nearby location that minimises the impact on amenities, households, sensitive land and the environment, and importantly, which is also the most visually discreet in the area

The former coal pit, adjacent to Short Wood, is the only site suitable with sufficient size to establish a viable solar farm. This section of land is well screened from the surrounding hills, footpaths and roads by woodland and hedgerows. We believe that a sensitively designed scheme with additional landscape screening could be positioned on the site – providing a valuable source of renewable energy, additional interest to the local community and substantially contributing to Telford and Wrekin Council’s Carbon Neutral Target of 2030.

New Works Solar Farm Map
New Works Solar footpaths 02
Local Footpath - with solar panels visible
New Works Solar footpaths and beehives image 01

Local Access Considerations

Improving Local Access
The attractiveness of walking, horse riding, and cycling along local public footpaths and rights of way by local people has been the primary design consideration.

We have reviewed how solar farms in other parts of the country have been designed to successfully co-exist alongside public footpath and bridleway routes and increase interest in the countryside experience.

Solar arrays can be effectively screened from local footpaths and bridleways by new species diverse native hedge planting. This also provides wildlife habitat and a source of food for insects and birds. The solar farm design has been laid out to include open wildflower meadows and beehive plots.

Space around the south fields has been set aside, potentially allowing separate areas to be used by horse riders and for other outdoor activities, enabling people with different interests to enjoy the outdoors here without conflict.

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Proposed Access Consideration
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Solar Panels
Restricted Byway
Hedge
Horse Riding Circuit

Views from The Wrekin, Ercall and AONB protected

The site cannot be seen from the summits of The Wrekin or The Ercall and is screened from views from these summits by Maddock’s Hill and Limekiln Wood, which are in turn screened by Short Wood.

Proposed solar farm site

 

 

New Works Solar Farm Map 02

Working with Nature

Enhancing Biodiversity & Nature

The proposed solar farm would create green energy to power local homes and can be managed as a large wildflower meadow, or continue to allow for sheep grazing – or a bit of both.

Like most solar farm operations, bird and bat boxes and other wildlife habitat features will be provided and a section for a bee meadow will be set aside for local beekeepers.

New Works Solar Farm - Sheeps below solar panels in shadow
New Works Working with Nature - image of a batcave
New Works - Working with Nature - Beehives 03

Technical 

The Solar farm will connect to the Ketley substation approximately 3 miles from the site.

The connection will be approximately 30 MWp of power fed into the local grid at this point, providing over 28,500,000kWh / units of green electricity a year to power local households and businesses.

For further details of the Planning Documents please use the following link.

If you wish to leave a comment in support of the application please use this link.

 

New Works, Telford
Location
28,500 MWh / year

Estimated Annual electricity production

97 acres

Land Area

8,650 homes

No. of Household Powered by Electricity

new-works-educational-full
Development Stage

In Planning

15,000 tonnes / annum

CO2 savings per year

Educational

Representation of a solar farm system

The solar farm will provide a valuable educational resource for local schools, colleges and community tours in green energy generation and bio-diversity – aspects which go hand in hand for a sustainable future.

New Works Technical Graphic explaning the solar farm
Solar Energy
Area
Fencing
Substation
Solar Panels
Cable Management
Inverter
Local Power Network

The History of Solar Energy

New Works Solar Farm - Sheeps below solar panels in shadow
1958 Solar panels are first used in space to power satellites and continue to today
First transistor radio with solar cells manufactured
New Works Solar Farm - Sheeps below solar panels in shadow
Solar panel installed on a lighthouse and still operational today
First solar powered calculators launched

 

UK introduces solar subsidies Feed in Tariff & ROC
End of UK solar subsidies
Subsidy free solar project being developed and built
Britain has gone over 2 months coal free for the first time since the industrial revolution, thanks mainly to solar (and wind) renewable energy

 

Read UK’s record run without coal power 

Watch coal-fired power stations being demolished

FAQ

Why has this site been selected for the New Works Solar Farm?

The location and size of a modern solar farm depends on grid capacity and achieving a sufficient scale to be economically viable.

The Telford and Wrekin district is highly constrained from a grid capacity perspective. Our investigations and discussions with the Distribution Network Operator (DNO) have identified that Ketley substation can provide a viable point of connection. We have therefore sought to identify a suitable nearby location that minimises the impact on amenities, households, sensitive land and the environment, and importantly, which is also the most visually discreet in the area.

The former coal pit, adjacent to Short Wood, was identified as the most suitable site with sufficient size to establish a viable solar farm with space for enhancements.

This section of land is well screened from the surrounding hills, footpaths and roads by woodland and hedgerows. There are some footpaths within and surrounding the site, which is not unusual for a solar farm — we have designed the site to effectively accommodate these and adding to the network as well as expanding the carpark to encourage more use.

We believe that a sensitively designed scheme with additional landscape screening could be positioned on the site – providing a valuable source of renewable energy, additional interest to the local community and substantially contributing to Telford & Wrekin Council’s Carbon Neutral Target of 2030.

How will this project help the local economy?

There will be local economic opportunities for construction and maintenance companies. We have already engaged in discussions with some potentially relevant local organisations that are interested in the project.

The importance of the local economic benefits should not be underestimated, as reflected by the appeal where the Inspector stated at Paragraph 16:

The proposal would provide some support for the construction industry and could assist in helping to create and sustain employment during the current economic downturn. Some construction workers could also use some local services and the development would generate additional income for the landowners, enhancing farm incomes and possibly diversifying some farm businesses. This would accord with the Government’s objective of promoting a strong rural economy. In addition, the proposal would assist in increasing the security and diversity of electricity supply. These economic benefits are important considerations that can be given much weight.

The site is currently a fantastic haven for wildlife and nature. We don’t want to see that disappear.

Neither do we – one of the key points of the project is to increase the biodiversity of the site, which is currently predominantly intensively grazed grassland in private ownership with poor biodiversity characteristics.

Solar arrays are low structures that can be effectively screened from local footpaths and bridleways by new species diverse native hedge planting. This also provides wildlife habitat and a source of food for insects and birds. The solar farm design has been laid out to include open wildflower meadows and beehive plots.

The proposed solar farm would create green energy to power local homes and can be managed as a large wildflower meadow or continue to allow for sheep grazing – or a bit of both.

Like most solar farm operations, bird and bat boxes and other wildlife habitat features will be provided and a section for a bee meadow will be set aside for local beekeepers.

In our Ecological Appraisal, performed independently by Greenscape Environmental, it was determined:

The biodiversity value of the site will be enhanced post-construction with the inclusion of bat and bird boxes and the landscaping will include planting to enhance the nesting opportunities for birds and encourage invertebrates. The landscaping will be improved to support local users and for biodiversity, by planting new native species hedgerows and trees to provide a visual screen along the footpaths.

According to the BRE Trust (Building Research Establishment)

Solar farms present an excellent opportunity for biodiversity. Most solar farms panels are set on piles and there is minimal disturbance to the ground. Because panels are raised above the ground on posts, more than 95% of a field used for solar farm development is still accessible for plant growth and potentially for wildlife enhancements and complementary agricultural activities such as conservation grazing.

What about bees on the site?

According to the Bumblebee Conservation Trust

Solar farms are ideal habitats for bumblebees. The good thing about solar farms and bumblebees is that there are ‘buffer’ areas around the farm that are left alone for wildlife. There is a greater surface area below the panels than the panels occupy above ground; and the overall effect is a huge surface area of good habitat all over the site with lots of places where wildflowers can grow and bumblebees can thrive.

There are now well over 200 large-scale solar farms in England and Wales and these new habitats are ripe for colonisation by bumblebees.

What about the bird population and nesting on the site?

According to the RSPB website

There is a significantly higher variation of species found on solar farms compared to arable fields, which suggest that solar farms provide a habitat for a range of farmland birds. In essence the solar farm is a piece of permanent grassland with a grass height that is generally taller than pasture but more intensely managed than a wildflower meadow.

Solar farms have demonstrated their value in the farmed landscape with little evidence to suggest that solar farms are having a negative impact on farmland birds.
Solar farms provide an opportunity for the long-term existence of land in which wildlife can thrive, which could go a long way to help slow the rate of decline of farmland birds.

Additionally, the Barn Owl Trust has identified that solar arrays have no harmful impact to the Barn Owl population:

In the UK, large solar PV systems are almost always ground-mounted. These present a negligible collision risk and do not electrocute, dazzle or burn Barn Owls. In fact, solar PV ‘farms’ have the potential to be of great benefit to Barn Owls as the array frameworks are typically at a height from which Barn Owls can perch-hunt.

They claim that the owls will most likely perch on the solar enclosure fence posts – which at two metres are the right height for perch hunting by raptors – rather than the panels themselves.

Barbed wire fencing can be a cause of injury to Barn Owls, and we will be removing barbed wire on the site.

We are also going to create a mosaic of different grassland meadow structure with taller tussocky meadow away from the panels and within the central aisles between rows (see picture below).

What about other wildlife? We’ve seen deer on the site — won’t the New Works Solar Farm prevent them from accessing their natural habitat?

We completely understand residents’ concerns about wildlife, especially the local deer population, and wanted to provide reassurance that sufficient measures would be incorporated into the design to encourage wildlife in the area.

The site is currently private farmland grazed by sheep and surrounded by barbed wire fencing. While the solar arrays will be surrounded by deer fencing, the rest of the site will be open and the existing post and wire fences alongside the footpaths and bridleways will be removed, allowing deer and other wildlife to move freely around the site. Despite the fencing, deer are commonly found inside it on solar farms and are quite content in exploring the environment and grazing among the panels. Indeed, the project has been designed so that the perimeter fence of the solar array will offer protection for wildlife from dogs and human intrusion, while also allowing greater accessibility and space along the public rights of ways for recreational walking, cycling and horse riding and for dog walkers to exercise their dogs.

Additional wildlife enhancements include raising the bottom edge of the deer fence by 10cm above the ground to allow smaller animals and reptiles to move throughout the site, installing badger gates at several locations, installing bird and bat boxes in some of the more mature trees, and creating reptile hibernaculum and wildlife refuges at suitable locations.

We will also continue to offer the site for sheep grazing by Harper Adams University. Low intensity grazing can provide a low cost means of managing grassland as well as increasing its conservation value. Grazing also enables the land to remain agriculturally productive.

The site is currently loved by local people who enjoy the environment and nature. We don’t want to lose that.

One of the project’s primary objectives is to enhance the public rights of way access around the site.

The attractiveness of walking, horse riding, and cycling along local public footpaths and rights of way by local people has been a primary design consideration.

We have reviewed how solar farms in other parts of the country have been designed to successfully co-exist alongside public footpath and bridleway routes and increase interest in the countryside experience.

Will this affect access to The Wrekin at all? We know there are traffic and parking issues in the area already.

In discussion with the Local Access Forum and a local group of walkers, both parties raised the issue of a lack of available car parking in the area.

As a result, we have incorporated an extension to the small community car park off New Works Lane, effectively doubling the capacity of the car park. This is a vast improvement to the existing provision, which will resolve some of the issues of over-crowding at the main car parks for the Ercall and the Wrekin.

There are some fantastic views of our county from The Wrekin, Ercall and local protected areas of natural beauty (AONB) — we don’t want to see New Works from these locations.

We appreciate how important the local area is to Telford and Wrekin residents — and agree that there are some stunning views across the county.

Having thoroughly walked the site, the Wrekin, Ercall and local AONB we can confirm that the site cannot be seen from the summits of The Wrekin or The Ercall or the footpath network around them, as can be seen from the photographs below.

New Works Solar Farm Map 02

Views from AONB protected

Will there be glint and glare from the installed panels?

The definition of glint and glare used by PagerPower is as follows:

• Glint — a momentary flash of bright light.

• Glare — a continuous source of bright light.

Our independent glint and glare study, performed by PagerPower Urban & Renewables determined:

No impact is predicted on road users or dwellings in the surrounding area. In all cases, any solar reflections that are geometrically possible will be screened by intervening terrain, existing vegetation, proposed vegetation and/or surrounding buildings. These solar reflections will therefore not be experienced in practice.

What about excessive noise on the site?

There will be some noise associated with construction activities, namely emissions from delivery vehicles, and from the various items of plant and machinery operating in the site.
However, construction noise is temporary in nature, and can be controlled through good working practices and limitations on construction hours to avoid the most sensitive times.

Once operational, the only sources of noise are the cooling and ventilation fans of the inverters / transformers and batteries. The fans are temperature controlled and will only operate at full speed (and generate the highest levels of noise) when solar generation is at its peak in the middle of the day.

During the more sensitive early morning and late evening periods, the energy generation will be lower, so the fans will run at a lower speed and therefore generate lower levels of noise that are unlikely to be heard at all.

There will be no noise emissions during the night as the site requires sunlight to generate energy.

Noise from the fans is usually only audible within about 30m of the inverters / transformers and batteries. Noise is unlikely to be audible at any neighbouring dwelling as the location of the noise generating equipment has been carefully selected to ensure there is at least 100m separation between the equipment and neighbouring houses. Noise can also be reduced by installing cowls over the vent grills of the inverter stations.

Why can’t solar be installed on commercial roof space instead?

The opportunity to use commercial roof space for grid-connected solar is incredibly limited due to several legal, technical, and financial challenges:

  • To achieve the same amount of capacity as a solar farm site would require a very large number of suitable buildings.
  • The roofs of many commercial buildings, especially large modern warehouses, are built in a way that means they could not support the weight of a solar array, while other commercial buildings may need structural support to ensure they are strong enough.
  • Most commercial buildings are leased to their occupiers, which adds complication and cost for everyone involved, given the need to agree legal terms and access arrangements with every owner and tenant.
  • There are also challenges associated with the operation and maintenance of roof mounted panels given the need for specialist training and equipment for working at height.
  • Finally, each building would need to be connected to the electricity grid separately, which would require significant investment and upgrades as the infrastructure supplying power to the buildings is not capable of transferring the amount of power produced by the solar systems back to the grid.
Where are the solar panels manufactured?

At this stage, Greentech has not ordered or sourced panels and equipment, as we want to ensure that products are up to modern technology and standards. However, should we proceed, we will act in accordance with the Solar Energy UK pledge and will follow the lead of the Responsible Sourcing Task Force.

As with many electronic products, China is currently the biggest manufacturer of solar panels with a variety of suppliers. However, global economic forces and technological innovation are continually altering the balance of where panels and other goods are manufactured.

Solar Energy UK has set up a Responsible Sourcing Task Force and is taking the lead in establishing traceability and ethical sourcing practices, including liaising with the UK government. Greentech has signed the Solar Energy UK pledge to ethical source products.

With regards to concerns surrounding securing the solar panels and associated parts from China:

  • Solar panel manufacturing is highly automated and requires skilled workers, with manufacturing capacity outside China increasing.
  • The solar industry is doing more to deal with supply chain traceability than most other industries.
  • Not all solar panel manufacturers in China are affected by worker welfare concerns and many are developing traceability to satisfy demand from solar construction firms and renewable energy funds that own or finance solar farm construction to ensure that solar panel manufacturing and sourcing is ethical.
How is the New Works Solar Farm being funded?

The project will be fully developed and built without the use of any public financial support or subsidies such as the Feed-in-Tariff or Renewable Obligations Certificates (ROCs).

The solar farm will not place any burden on council services. Business rates will be paid by the solar park providing income to the local area.

Who is Greentech?

Greentech is a project developer and manager of large-scale ground mounted solar farms. We develop projects from the initial idea, right the way through to construction, operation and long-term ownership.

In doing so we make sure we work with and involve the key stakeholders, as in the landowner, community, local authority, local environmental groups and DNOs in selecting the best suited sites.

As well as this we have a clear focus on how renewable power plants can also enhance the local ecology and biodiversity as part of sustainable Energy Transition.

We are a team of more than 80 employees, located in 12 different countries, managing a portfolio comprising over 1GW of development opportunities and more than 800MW of operational solar farms.

This makes Greentech one of the largest independent service providers for the planning, development and operation of solar farms in Europe.

Greentech is part of ER Capital Holding, a private investment and asset management group with a global outreach based in the city of Hamburg.

Advantages of New Works Solar Farm

How the region and you benefit
01-advantages-solar-farm
Advantages of New Works Solar Farm

New works solar farm is a renewable solar PV project playing a major part in The Energy Transition from fossil fuel carbon intense electricity production to alternative green electricity.

One of the key points and target of the project is to enhance the public rights of way and to increase the biodiversity of the site. Site is well screened from the surrounding area.

02-positive-impact
Making a positive impact on the environment

The solar site can continue to be used to graze sheep whilst at the same time harvesting clean green electricity to be used by the local community offsetting the amount supplied by the national grid. The project will generate enough green electricity to supply approximately 8,300 households per year. This will make a contribution to the Telford and Wrekin Council’s 2030 Carbon Neutral target.

03_subsidy_free_energy
Subsidy-free energy without public finance support

The project will be fully developed and built without the use of any public financial support or subsidies such as the Feed-in-Tariff or Renewable Obligations Certificates (ROCs).

04_revenue
Revenue to local authority
The solar farm will not place any burden on council services. Business rates will be paid by the solar park providing income to the local area.
05_education_resource
Valuable education resource

The solar farm will have information boards along the public rights of way situated at various positions providing educational information about the park. Local schools, technical and environmental land management colleges will be encouraged to visit the solar farm as part of their studies and will be able use the site as a case study.

06_working_nature
Working with Nature

The ecological profile of the site will be enhanced by the introduction of wildflower meadows, bird and bat boxes and a beehive meadow for the local apiarist. The site can also be continued to be grazed by sheep.

07_contribution_energy_transition
Contributing to the UK Energy Transition

Renewable energy is cost competitive against standard carbon intensive energy production, (however a lot greener) and is fast becoming / playing a significant part of the energy transition. 2020 has been the first time since the industrial revolution that Britain has gone coal free (no electricity production from coal) for 67 consecutive days!

greentech logo

About us

greentech – PV specialists

greentech is a project developer for large scale ground mounted solar PV power plants. We develop projects from the initial idea, right the way through to construction, operation and long term ownership. In doing so we make sure we work with and involve the key stakeholders, as in the landowner, community, local authority, local environmental groups and DNOs in selecting the best suited sites. As well as this we have a clear focus on how renewable power plants can also enhance the local ecology and bio-diversity as part of sustainable Energy Transition.

Contact Us

Project Lead

James Jenkison

Email

newworks@greentech.energy

Phone

Address

greentech Challenge House,
Sherwood Drive, Bletchley,
Milton Keynes
MK3 6DP
greentech James Jenkison profile image
James Jenkison

Get in touch with us!