Plans revealed for proposed Pettywell solar farm

Draft proposals have been unveiled for a 70-hectare solar farm south of Pettywell, near Reepham, by Albanwise Synergy.

Image: Indigo Landscape Architects

The operational area of the site comprises five fields and part of two fields on an area south of the B1145 and adjacent Marriott’s Way, with Hackford Hall to the west and Whitwell Hall to the south.
The land, which has initially been surveyed as Grade 3, is owned by Albanwise Farming, a significant landowner in Norfolk and Yorkshire.
The connection offer from the district network operator is for 40MW AC, with a planned connection date of October 2027.
The Pettywell Solar Farm & Battery Storage project has the potential to generate more than 34 million kwh of electricity a year, which is sufficient to provide power to around 12,000 homes, according to Stephen Ramm, Albanwise Synergy energy operations manager, who added that it will also help fulfil the UK’s targets on tackling climate change.
The proposed development consists of photovoltaic (PV) panels mounted on metal frames, new access tracks, underground cabling, battery storage units, perimeter fencing with CCTV cameras and access gates, a single temporary construction compound and all ancillary grid infrastructure and associated work, as well as screening and areas for biodiversity mitigation.
The solar panels will be fixed-tilt, bi-facial, ground-mounted arrays up to three metres in height and will be pile-driven into the ground to a maximum depth of 1–2m.
Albanwise Synergy, a renewables development and asset management business, says this comprises a “pin-prick” effect, which is considered to cause minimal ground disturbance and reduce potential impacts on unknown sub-surface archaeology.
The panels will have a non-reflective surface, which will increase the proportion of radiation absorbed, removing the risk of unwanted reflection and glare. It is planned to graze sheep beneath the panels.
The design includes the provision of secure, 2m-high deer fencing running around the perimeter of the site, set back 5m from existing field boundaries, including a 10-cm gap at the bottom and small-mammal gates.
The project has a planned life of 40 years, after which the solar PV array infrastructure will be removed and recycled or disposed of, and the land returned to agricultural use.
Albanwise Synergy says the development is considered temporary and entirely reversible, and all new planting will be retained after the solar panels are removed.
The company already owns a 30 MW solar Farm in Nottinghamshire and has planning permission for two solar farms of 40 MW and 50 MW capacity in East Yorkshire, as well as an 18 MW wind farm in West Yorkshire and several battery sites.
A planning application is due to be submitted to Broadland District Council this summer, with construction possibly starting 12 months ahead of the planned connection date. The company is currently awaiting pre-application advice from the district council.
A potential issue is the presence of badgers on the site and the adjacent Marriott’s Way, while the onshore cable route for the Vattenfall offshore wind farms currently under construction passes through the centre of the proposed site.
The planned connection is at the Salle electricity substation near Cawston, although a cable route has not been finalised.
This could add to a “time of turmoil” for Reepham, as pointed out at this month’s town council meeting, with two offshore wind farm cable routes being excavated across the district and more than 140 new houses planned for a residential development off Broomhill Lane, adjacent to the high school.
However, the cable trench required for the solar farm connection will be excavated to 1m deep x 1m wide, which is smaller than that for the offshore wind farm cables.
Comments on the draft proposals for the Pettywell solar farm can be made HERE. The closing date for the consultation is Wednesday 3 July.
For further information, contact: Albanwise Synergy. Tel: 07939 501849 or email.

Photos: Albanwise Synergy

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