Planners give green light to 20,000-panel solar farm
3:15pm Friday 13th September 2013 in News
COUNTY planners have given the green light for two solar panel farms in Saron after local councillor Peter Cooper urged colleagues to look favourably upon plans for renewable energy.
"We're going to to have a lot more of these applications coming before us," he said. "This is reinstated open cast land used to graze sheep so these solar farms will put it to good use."
The first proposed solar farm comprising the erection of solar arrays, inverters, transformers, equipment housing, security fencing, internal tracks and ancillary equipment is earmarked for land east of Saron Road and north of Dyffryn Road.
The second, comprising the erection of solar arrays, inverters, transformers, equipment housing, security fencing, internal tracks and ancillary equipment will be located at land at Pen y Cae.
Cllr Cooper said the feedback he had received after applicants Green Valley Energy Ltd had held a public meeting at Saron had been "excellent" and said the quality of land pinpointed for both solar farms was "very poor".
Commenting on the Dyffryn Road application, Head of Planning Eifion Bowen said five letters of objection which been received actually refer to the sister application on the site near Nant y Ci Road.
He said planning permission was being sought for an up to 7 mega watt photo voltaic solar farm consisting of approximately 20,000 solar panels to be set in rows.
Noise from the development would be minimal and effect the occupiers of nearby houses and Mr Bowen said CCTV cameras on tall poles would not be intrusive.
Asked whether the panels would generate excessive heat or glare, Mr Bowen replied: "The panels are flat, not vertical – they absorb sunlight rather than reflect it."
He added that the letters of objection were more pertinent to the Pen y Cae development which was closer to some homes.
Mr Cooper said one of the nearby properties was surrounded by 30-40ft conifer which woul effectively screen the solar panels from view. "These panels are dark blue or black – there's no glare from them," he said.
Mr Bowen disclosed that community benefits offered by the developers included the provision of a traffic-calming solar powered sign outside the school and a demonstration panel at the school to encourage pupils to learn about solar energy.
They would also assist in submitting an application for a solar panel application for the local chape as well as providing a review of local footpaths and bridleway along with a seating area within the site.
Cllr Emlyn Dole observed that photos shown to the committee indicated the National Coal Board had "driven a coach and horses" through any kind of restoration scheme.
"It may well have sustained us, but our industrial past also has a lot to answer for," commented chairman Anthony Jones.
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