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Hill Solar Farm Information Page

To overview

Hill Farm Solar Limited is proposing to build a solar farm with a 22MW (AC) at land on Hill Farm located west of Thurlaston, Leicestershire, on approximately 39 hectares.

We have created this information page and sent an information letter to nearby residents to share project information and gather community feedback. The Hill Solar Farm information page will be available to view throughout the planning application process.

  • About Hill Farm Solar Limited

    Hill Farm Solar Limited is a special purpose vehicle (SPV) wholly owned by BRE/GE Solar Developments Limited which is a company owned by BayWa r.e. UK Limited and Grüne Energien Projekt UG (Haftungsbeschränkt).

  • About Grüne Energien Solar

    Grüne Energien (GE) are our joint venture (JV) partners on this project. With over 12 years experience in solar energy, developing approximately 50 ground-mounted solar projects in the UK since 2011. The Grüne Energien solar teams are based in Germany and the UK.

    Through the development process we also work closely with various consultants with expertise in planning and environmental assessment.

About the project

The proposal will be seeking consent for a solar farm to be installed across an area of 39 hectares. The expected generating capacity of the project is up to 22 MW (AC) of solar power, which is enough energy to supply approximately 8,000 homes annually with clean, renewable energy.

Latest News

The project is currently being considered by Blaby District Council, we hope to receive planning consent in Summer 2023.

Project Location

Hill Solar Farm would be located between the A47 and Earl Shilton Road, to the west of Thurlaston. The current proposal is for a 22MW (AC) power ground mounted solar farm.

The maximum height of the solar panels on both sites will be 2.6 meters from ground level and each site will also house a substation which is enclosed within a green building.

Landscape and visual

We have carefully considered views from both public locations and private properties. In addition to enhancing the ecological environment, the hedgerow and tree planting will provide some screening to further reduce the visibility of the solar farm.

A Landscape and Ecological Management Plan (LEMP) for the project was submitted alongside the planning application. The LEMP sets out all of the improvement measures that we have committed to and explains how we will implement and maintain them throughout the lifespan of the project.

About the Site

The site at Hill Farm covers approximately 39 hectares of land which is currently used for farming cattle and crops. Most of the land is categorised as moderate agricultural land (Agricultural Land Classification (ALC) grade 3b) with some pockets of good agricultural land (ALC grade 3a). An area of very good quality (ALC grade 2) land was also identified in south of the site and removed from the original site boundary.  

Although the land at the site will not be used for farming during the lifespan of the project, soil quality will be preserved, and hopefully improved over time, by planting a diverse mix of native wildflower and grass species. When the solar farm is decommissioned, the land will be fully reinstated for agricultural use. 

  • Ecology

    Ecological surveys have been undertaken on the site to identify the important habitats and wildlife to be considered in the development process.

    Most of the site is arable land, so is currently of little ecological value. We plan to plant a mix of native wildflowers and grasses across the sites, which will help support the pollinating insects that are important for our wider ecosystem. On the field boundaries and around the perimeter of the site there are areas of hedgerow and woodland. These are important habitats, and no trees should need to be removed to build the project. A small area of hedgerow may need to be cleared for the temporary construction access, but this will be reinstated once construction is complete.

    We also plan to fill in gaps in existing hedgerow, plant new hedgerows and plant some new trees around the perimeter of the site. With these improvements we hope to provide a rich ecological environment that attracts and supports local birds, mammals, and insects.

  • Landscape and Visual
    • Views from public and private locations have been considered;
    • Hedgerow and tree planting for screening and ecological enhancement;
    • Landscape and Ecological Management Plan to set out improvement measures.
    Aerial picture of Hill Farm
  • Why here?
    • Proximity to the Enderby Substation;
    • Limited environmental constraints;
    • Good levels of solar irradiance.
  • Access

    An unpaved PRoW footpath runs along the north-eastern boundary of Hill Farm, access to this will not be affected during the construction or operational period.

    Currently we plan for construction traffic to approach the site from the west along Earl Shilton Road, with a temporary construction road going through one of the fields to the south of the site. No diversions or traffic management should be required for construction traffic and to build the project the traffic would consist of an average of three lorry deliveries each day at the peak of construction. Once operational the site could be accessed by the existing Hill Farm tracks and would produce very little traffic.

Example of Ground-mounted Solar Panels

Benefits of Hill Solar Farm

  • Supporting the UK government’s ‘Net Zero’ targets
  • Supporting the Council’s climate targets as set out in the Blaby District Local Plan
  • Producing enough clean, renewable electricity to power up to 8,000 homes each year
  • Providing opportunities for biodiversity net gain through hedgerow planting
  • Providing local contracting opportunities for civil works during construction
  • Setting up an annual community benefit contribution fund

The need for the project

The proposal is in response to a pressing need to create a renewable energy supply and combat the effects of climate change. The UK Climate Change Commission published ‘The Sixth Carbon Budget: The UK’s path to Net Zero’ in December 2020. The report identified that to achieve ‘net zero’ carbon emissions there is a need for, on average, 3000MW per year of solar power to be installed in the UK to reach the required level of renewable energy generation by 2050.

Next steps 

The conditions for the project will be discharged with an aim to start construction in 2025.

Please get in touch using the contact details on the right hand side of this page, or by clicking “contact us” below.

    Connie McKay
    Renewables Developer
    BayWa r.e. UK Limited
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