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Jackie Reader, Ormandy Aquatherm, Burgess Hill
Utilise Plus Event Report: Tour of Tangmere Solar Farm
Thirty-four delegates from various industries attended a tour of the Tangmere Solar Farm organised by the Sustainable Business Partnership CIC. The event was part of UTILISE PLUS, a project supported by the European Regional Development Fund to enable Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SME) to become more energy efficient and cut their carbon emissions.
The tour began with a short introduction from Shelaine Siepel, Director at the Sustainable Business Partnership CIC and Sue Garman, Business Development Director at Chichester Chamber of Commerce.
Following the introduction, the delegates were split into 2 groups for a guided tour, one led by Keith Martin and Wegner Oeder from Carillion and one by Kevin Keiley from Arun Construction Services.
The 29 acre solar farm was developed by Your Energy Sussex, a partnership between West Sussex County Council and Carillion and built by Arun Construction Services in just 3 months! The 5MW solar farm, with 18,000 modular solar panels, produces enough clean zero-carbon electricity for between 1,000-1,500 homes per year, saving 2,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions annually.
The guides explained that the solar farm was built on low-grade land, an ex-airfield that had subsequently been used for fire and rescue vehicle practice. Concrete removed from site during construction has been used to create new habitats for lizards and other local wildlife in a neighboring copse. Sheep graze between the panels, naturally managing the grass and weeds.
Electricity from Tangmere is fed into the National Grid, earning a year-on-year income for West Sussex County Council through the Government’s feed-in-tariff scheme. Over its 25 years life span Tangmere will generate £13.8 million and pay back the cost of the project in less than ten years. A power-purchase agreement has also been set up enabling West Sussex County Council to use clean energy from Tangmere to power its corporate buildings, including offices, libraries and children and family centers.
The tour concluded with a question and answer session. Delegates expressed that the morning was very beneficial and informative
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