Good Energy submits plans for 49.9MW solar farm on disused Norfolk RAF airfield

Wiltshire-based renewable energy company Good Energy has submitted a planning application for a 49.9MW solar farm to be built on a former RAF site in Norfolk.

The site comprises 91 hectares of contaminated land that is unusable for agriculture. Good Energy has submitted a planning application to North Norfolk District Council for the plant on land belonging to the Raynham Estate, near Fakenham, Norfolk.

The power station will generate around 48,000MWh per year. The site is screened from local residences and Good Energy also hopes to be able to provide new wildflower habitats in the seven metre gaps between the rows of solar panels. Sheep will be able to graze in between panels.

According to regional newspaper Eastern Daily Press who spoke to Raynhams Parish Council chairman David Sidell, previous proposals for land use in the area have included a wind power farm and a prison, with Sidell quoted as saying that the solar farm seemed a preferable option. Several other local residents were quoted in the publication expressing a favourable opinion on the proposal. Good Energy held a public consultation with local residents in July of this year.

Funding options put forward by Good Energy included a possible annual contribution of £25,000 in the form of the company’s ‘community benefit rate’ of £1,000 per MW, rising with inflation but otherwise capped at £25,000 for financial viability.

The sum would be put toward a community fund, to be administered independently by local people. Good Energy would potentially also contribute toward a permanent RAF memorial for all those who served at the RAF West Raynham airfield between 1939 and 1994 as well as an outdoor learning programme near a local school and a children’s playground.

If planning application were to be granted this year, construction could begin in early 2014.