Does a solar farm cause noise?

A solar farm produces virtually no noise. The solar panels themselves do their work silently. The inverters that convert the direct current from the solar panels to alternating current for the electricity grid are available without fans. The transformer needed at a solar park produces a light buzz as soon as the sun shines its brightest in the middle of the day, but this quickly fades away from background noise in the surrounding area. Given the distance between the intended solar park and homes in the area, we expect that local residents will not be able to hear the solar farm from their homes.

What exactly is a “solar farm”?

A solar farm or a solar park is a piece of land containing photovoltaic panels that generate electricity from the sun. Sizes can vary from just a couple of acres to more than 200 acres. The solar panels are placed on a specialized framing often oriented to the south, to receive the highest irradiation possible. As a result, they deliver power to the grid via an inverter and a transformer. The energy supplier then provides real green electricity to private individuals and companies.

Does a solar farm cause glint and glare?

Solar panels are designed with a special coating to absorb the sun’s rays. This means that reflection in the form of glint and glare is avoided as much as possible by design, since it would otherwise lead to a potential loss of energy. A comparative study of common reflective surfaces shows that solar panels reflect less light than, for instance, steel, standard glass or plastic. The reflection of a solar panel is comparable to that of smooth water.

Any remanent reflection is minimal and only occurs at a fixed angle in relation to the solar panels. The time the sun shines on the solar panels at this angle is very short during the day and not all days throughout the year. In addition, landscaping such as a hedges around the solar park can prevent any remaining glare that could cause a nuisance in the surrounding area.

What is the effect on the fertility of agricultural land?

The solar panels are mounted on structures above the ground such that the sun can still reach the soil and vegetation beneath it preventing the loss of fertility of the land. In fact, during the operation of the solar farm, vegetation tends to grow and small animals re-emerge on the landscape. Thanks to the presence of the solar panels and to the absence of disruptive agricultural practices, the land has a chance to recover and the land’s fertility is further enhanced. Kronos Solar contractually assumes responsibility for returning the land back to the state in which it was obtained after the period of operation.

What is the view from the nearby landscape?

Most people prefer not to have direct views into solar farms. For this reason, we plant a variety of local plants around the farm, that conceal the panels and enhance the site boundaries. Bird houses and bat boxes are placed on nearby trees and can also be placed on the transformer houses and other structural elements in the farm. In general, the layout of a farm allows for placing honey bee nests and/or for sheep grazing. The integration of the solar farm into the landscape is done according to local and regional regulations and in cooperation with landscape architects.

During the consultation period before and after the submission of the application, we received multiple comments about the development’s potential impact. A revised layout was submitted so that the solar farm covers an area of 75 hectares, which is significantly less than the original area of 101┬áhectares and it comes in response to discussions with the Council. The reasoning behind the reduction is to lessen the impact of the development on the dwellings at Ufton Fields Farm, on the amenity of the footpaths crossing the site and to reduce potential landscape and visual impacts on different receptors such as Toadhole Furnace, Alfreton Park and dwellings west of the site.

Landscape without a solar farm
Well screened solar farm

Why not just install solar panels on rooftops?

This is certainly an option, but the amount of energy produced is not enough if we want to reach the Net Zero Targets set by the UK government. To do this, all types of renewable energies need to be supported and deployed alike: Wind, geothermal, biomass, solar panels on roofs, and, solar panels on fields. 

How is a site for a solar farm chosen?

Kronos Solar takes great care in revising multiple elements for a proposed location of a solar farm. Examples of the criteria we take into consideration are the distance from the site to nearby residential premises, existing designations of the land, ground characteristics, size of the land, presence of grid connection and the current use of the terrain. Additionally, it is imperative that the solar irradiation at the location is optimal for the efficient production of energy per square meter.