Low Carbon is the developer of this project and we will use the information gathered at the end of the consultation period to advise on the development of the proposed solar farm.
Here is a selection of questions that have been asked relating to solar farm installations/builds.
Low Carbon has carefully identified this site as part of a detailed feasibility process to deliver a large-scale clean energy scheme. Many factors are considered by our specialists when evaluating appropriate sites for development. These include considering the available grid locally as well as various planning and environmental constraints.
Solar offers a low cost, safe and low carbon way of delivering clean power to meet this target as well as reduce the levels of carbon dioxide that are being emitted into the atmosphere by replacing electricity generation from fossil fuels.
The proposal includes battery storage which will allow energy to be stored on site at times when grid-demand is lower and exported at times of higher demand to ensure no energy is ‘lost’ and help balance the National Grid.
Are there any health risks associated with being in close proximity to solar panels and energy storage facilities?
Solar panel arrays do emit electric and magnetic fields (EMF) in the same extremely low frequency ranges as electrical appliances and wiring found in most houses and buildings.
The average daily background exposure to magnetic fields is estimated to be around one mG (milligauss – the unit used to measure magnetic field strength), but can vary considerably depending on a person’s exposure to EMF from household electrical devices and wiring.
The lowest exposure level that has been potentially associated with a health effect is three mG. Measurements at three commercial PV arrays in Massachusetts demonstrated that their contributions to off-site EMF exposures were low (less than 0.5 mG at the site boundary), which is consistent with the drop off of EMF strength based on distance from the source (2015, Clean Energy Results).
Will there be noise and visual impacts from East End Solar Farm?
As part of our ongoing work to determine the design of the project, we are undertaking surveys to ensure the levels of noise produced by the equipment onsite is within an acceptable range. Low Carbon will produce a full noise impact assessment as part of our application for development consent.
Similarly, studies are ongoing to ensure the visual impact of the solar farm on the local landscape is minimised. This will include screening and the installation of other mitigation measures in the appropriate locations around the perimeter of the land available for the project.
Will East End Solar Farm use land that could be used from growing crops for food production?
There is always a balance to be found when new development comes forward, with many factors and impacts to consider. Due to its proposed location, East End Solar Farm will potentially utilise land that could be used for agricultural production. However, the land take involved is minimal in the context of food production across Essex and allows clean energy to be generated at greater scale and efficiency than rooftop alternatives.
Will the solar farm cause any glint and glare?
Solar panels are designed to absorb light and not to reflect it. They pose little risk of glint or glare. Testament to this fact is the installation of solar panels at Gatwick Airport, alongside major roads and beside sports car raceways such as the ‘Top Gear’ test track.