Thursday, 8 October 2015

Why our new solar farm is great news for the environment and taxpayers

On Wednesday morning I made my way to Tangmere to visit our newly completed solar farm in time for the all-important switch on.

It has been two years in the planning, with the inevitable twists and turns, but it is now complete and I am unashamedly proud of our achievement.

Built on 25 acres of West Sussex County Council land near to Tangmere Airfield, this location is tucked away and is just the right place to build a solar farm.

Some 18,300 solar panels, which were installed over 15 days, will provide enough energy for 1,500 homes.  It will also prevent 2,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide being produced annually so it is also beneficial to the environment.

And the solar farm represents good value for money for the taxpayer too.

The initial investment of £5.2 million will pay for itself within seven and a half years.  The overall return over 20 years is £13.8 million - money that the County Council can invest into frontline services.

This is a new venture for the County Council and you may ask why we are doing it. Well the answer is simple really, we are receiving less from the Government so we need to look at our assets and find innovative new ways of raising money that we can re-invest in our services.

So this particular project is not only environmentally friendly but makes economic sense for West Sussex residents.

The site is very low maintenance, a local small holder will be grazing sheep on the land and we will be planting wild flowers as well. So this will be a quiet place where wildlife can thrive.

I am delighted to see this project come to fruition and look forward to more to come.



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