Lightsource Renewable Energy, the UK’s largest solar developer, is planning to install a 5.4MW solar farm across 16 hectares of land at Crapnell Farm near Wells.

In order to gauge local opinion over the potential development, Lightsource is holding a community information evening at the local village hall. The company hopes that the consultation will allow local residents to discover more information about the scheme as well allay any fears or concerns that they might have.

Conor McGuigan, Lightsource’s business development director explained why, despite no statutory requirement to undertake community consultations, the company views community engagement as a key aspect to large-scale developments. He said: “Open channels of communication with the local community enable us to refine our proposals and address concerns prior to submitting a formal planning application, this is a very important part of our development process.

“We have despatched documentation to over 70 residents and we are making every attempt to make our proposals known to the community.”

The solar developer believes that the proposals will provide an important extra revenue stream for the farmer – especially when considering the adverse weather conditions that has plagued farmers over the last few years.

McGuigan added: “It’s a good way of diversifying and of spreading risk because it’s not linked to or affected by other farm income or bad weather. When we develop a new solar farm, we are entering into an agreement with the landowner and council for a period of some 25 years. We take great care to make as little impact as possible during the construction phase, and put in place appropriate measures to encourage and protect local wildlife.”

Lightsource Renewable Energy will be holding a consultation today between 5.00pm and 8.00pm at Croscombe Village Hall, Fayre Way, BA5 3RA.