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Consultation Starts On Proposed Solar Farm For University Of Surrey

Published on: 14 Jun, 2022
Updated on: 14 Jun, 2022

By Hugh Coakley

The University of Surrey and energy company SSE Energy Solution are consulting on proposals to build a 12.2 MW solar farm on university owned land to the west of Blackwell Farm.

Proposed solar farm location, outlined in red, is on land owned by the university.

Subject to planning approval this year, the solar farm could be generating energy by July 2024.

The university says the project will increase its renewable energy generation from 0.1% to 20% of its total energy demand. And it will help it achieve its “ambitious target” of net zero carbon by 2030, a commitment it made in 2020.

At an estimated cost of around £7.5 million, the solar farm would operate for 35 years, supplying enough energy for around 4,000 homes and saving carbon emissions equal to removing 2,000 cars from the road, says the consultation.

Pieter D’Haen, SSE’s project director, told The Dragon that SSE would finance the build and maintenance of the solar farm and would sell the electricity to the university. Surplus electricity would be sold to the National Grid by SSE.

He said while it was a relatively small solar farm compared to the 50MW utility scale projects being built, it was an approach others, including local authorities and universities, were increasingly interested in.

He said: “The University of Surrey is ahead of the game here. We feel it is a case study for other universities to consider.”

Professor Bob Nichol, lead for the climate change at the University of Surrey, said: “Big strides like this are essential for organisations to reduce their carbon footprints.

“This is just one part of Surrey’s sustainability story. We are keen to talk to others in Surrey and universities beyond, to bring organisations and individuals with us on our road to net zero.”

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