Through the Warmer Crowhurst project, an opportunity was identified to install a solar farm within the parish of Crowhurst. This solar farm will generate renewable electricity and at the same time become a biodiversity reserve, allowing the land to regenerate and thrive for 40 years.
The project will be a Community Energy project, owned and controlled by the local not-for-profit Community Energy Co-op. Any “profits” generated will go into a Community Benefit Fund for the village. This fund will be managed by the village to fund the decarbonisation of Crowhurst by supporting those at risk of fuel poverty and funding or part funding energy saving measures such as insulation or renewable heating schemes.
The Crowhurst solar farm opportunity was identified during the Stage 1 feasibility study “Warmer Crowhurst Clean Energy project ”. A stage 2 Rural Community Energy Fund Grant was then secured to take the project through the development and planning process.
The project initially set out to install solar panels with a generating capacity of approximately 8 MW producing > 8,900,000 kWh annually, equivalent to the electricity demand of roughly 3000 homes a year (or 10 villages the size of Crowhurst). Following village consultation, the site has been reduced to around 6MW. This reduction ensures the solar farm remains large enough to support the expensive costs of connecting to the local electricity grid but reduces the area of land used to avoid the highest most visually sensitive areas, providing more space for the planting of additional hedging and wildflower meadows.
The site has been under consideration since December 2021 and has developed through ongoing village consultation, with specialist expert advice from a local Ecologist, a local Landscape Architect, an internationally recognized and award-winning renewable energy consultant, and a specialist solar energy installer.
The project has taken all the necessary steps required to submit a planning application and raise the finance necessary to develop, own and manage the project for community benefit.
You can read the key points from the planning application below.
Full planning documentation can be found on the Rother Planning Portal: Link to be added as available
We welcome your comments and suggestions for this project and if you would like any further information please contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org