We are looking to develop a portion of the site at North Angle Farm in Soham into a 30MW capacity solar farm providing green energy.
Our vision is to deliver net zero carbon emissions for the region by 2050. As part of this, there is the opportunity to look at using some of its assets to produce and store electricity, in order to support the Government’s decarbonisation goals, whilst simultaneously generating revenues for frontline services such as adult social care.
We have already successfully developed a 12MW solar park at Triangle Farm, also in Soham, which is generating clean energy and has delivered over £350,000 per annum net revenue to support the delivery of our services. This includes helping fund equipment and technology to enable older people to live independently and stay in their own homes; improve the health and wellbeing of those living with physical disability or sensory impairment; and to protect adults who may be vulnerable from abuse or neglect.
The Triangle Farm project has proven to be highly successful and has over-performed in the first two years of operation.
North Angle Farm is located just south of the existing Triangle solar farm. The 188-acre site has been identified as having the right characteristics for a solar farm: including flat and fairly remote land, few obstacles, standard rather than high quality agricultural land, and being close to grid connection options.
The proposed North Angle development could generate nearly the same amount of electricity as used by 12,000 households annually and would prevent the emission of more than 90,000 tonnes of CO2 over the project’s lifetime.
The scheme will be built under an Energy Performance Contract (EPC) arrangement to guarantee the volume of electricity generated. An EPC is where the performance, in this case energy generation from the solar panels, is guaranteed by the project designer (Bouygues Energies & Services). These savings are then converted into financial savings based on a rate agreed in the contract. If the energy generation is not achieved, then Bouygues is liable to pay the difference between the guaranteed amount and the actual amount realised.
Sales of electricity and provision of services to the grid will generate revenue to support the continued delivery of frontline services.
- Location: North Angle Farm, Soham
- Project: 30MW Solar Farm
- Timescales: planning applications to be submitted Summer 2020
Frequently asked questions
Below you will find frequently asked questions relating to the North Angle Solar Farm project. This project is at an early stage of development and no firm decision has yet been taken on whether to proceed to construction. Please check this website periodically for updates on the development of the project.
About the project
County Councillors approved an updated Corporate Energy Strategy in 2019. Using council-owned buildings and land to expand renewable energy generation locally and generate revenue is one of the key principles of this strategy. Revenue generated by energy generation projects will help support the continued delivery of essential frontline services.
We have already successfully implemented energy projects at 51 schools, upgraded seven council-owned office buildings and constructed a 12MW solar farm at Triangle Farm in Soham. The new solar farm project has the potential to add to this portfolio, generating three times more green electricity than the existing solar farm, as well as additional revenue for essential frontline services.
The outline business case for the North Angle Solar Farm project is based on a 37MW solar park. It will be one of the first solar projects brought forward without any Government subsidies.
It is anticipated that the proposed development would cover an area of approximately 188 acres of the Mere Farm Estate, between Soham and Wicken - and situated next to the council’s existing solar farm in Soham. A map showing the location is above.
The North Angle Solar Farm site is 76 hectares (approximately 188 acres) in total.
If a decision is taken to build the project, it will be funded, owned and maintained by Cambridgeshire County Council.
If planning permission is granted and the project remains financially viable, construction would be expected to start in the autumn of 2020. The build-out phase is estimated to take between six and nine months.
Benefits of the project
The outline business case forecasts that the development will generate the equivalent volume of electricity required to supply around 12,000 homes. Over its minimum operating life of 25 years, it would prevent the emission of around 230,000 tonnes of CO2
As the solar modules are made from glass, they are reflective. Published guidance shows that the intensity of reflections from solar panels are equal to or less than those from a body of water and are not expected to cause any significant issues.
During the planning application process, a formal study of the “glint and glare” from the solar panels will be completed, which will assess the impact of the reflection of light on the surrounding area, including homes, businesses, drivers and aircraft.
It will account for the position of the sun relative to the modules, as well as the angle of the modules, across the entire year. The outcome of this assessment may provide recommended design measures such as added screening, changes to the orientation and pitch, or using low reflection PV solar modules to mitigate specific glare issues.
It should be noted that by design solar modules absorb light in order to generate electricity and as such seek to minimise their reflective nature.
There are not anticipated to be any significant impacts on ecology. An Ecological Impact Assessment (EIA) has been requested as part of the planning application process to identify and mitigate any potential concerns. Bat and otter surveys are being undertaken to ensure the site is not of significant importance for those species. Any negative impact of the project on bird species will be mitigated through habitat creation and other standard methods. Landscaping will form an important part of the mitigation strategy, in order to shield the site from public view as much as possible. Strict construction methods will be adhered to and be sympathetic with known habitats in the local vicinity.
During the project development process, we are exploring ways in which we can share information such as the volume of electricity being generated and utilising the development to provide educational resource (post-completion).