My visit to Broxted solar farm near Highpoint prison, Stradishall.

Solar farms are marmite, you love them or you hate them. They are huge, cover lots of land and are hard to miss if they are in the wrong place. They can glint and reflect light in unhelpful ways. But unlike wind farms they generate clean energy with no moving parts, no noise and no danger to wildlife.

Broxted solar farm sits on the old airfield at Stradishall and covers around 150 acres. It produces 32MW of power and it is operated by Cubico, a sustainable investment company, on land owned by Navigator Land and run by Charles Ryder of Great Bradley Hall. It funds the Broxted Solar Community Fund (BSCF) which distributes £10.5k per annum to a variety of projects which benefits the community of Hundon.

Charles gave me a fascinating tour and was proud to show off the efforts made to protect wildlife and to produce a conservation area. I had no idea that solar panels are off the ground to allow sheep to graze underneath. Obvious really I suppose. The site has a number of informative boards dealing with the history of the airfield and the conservation efforts. There is a perimeter track all around the site for walkers to enjoy.

The key aspect of Broxted is that no-one can see it! It is hidden away and screened by hedges and tree’s and away from public roads. It doesn’t offend anyone and produces a great resource.

Those that bring forward plans for solar farms MUST ensure they are in the right place and can be a good neighbour to existing communities. If plans are in the wrong place they must be resisted or we risk tarnishing the technologies reputation, as has happened to wind farms.

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