One-year-on since it was opened, Tangmere Solar Farm has generated enough clean electricity to power 1,500 homes for an entire year.
It is one of the country’s first council-owned solar farms and is built on 29 acres of land owned by West Sussex County Council on part of the site of the former Tangmere Airfield.
It officially opened in October 2015 and, over the past 12 months, the 18,000 solar panels have generated almost 5,000 MWh of clean electricity.
The good weather during the late spring and early summer produced the best output with 721 MWh being generated in May alone – this is the equivalent of energy generated by burning almost 100 tonnes of coal.
Louise Goldsmith, Leader of West Sussex County Council, said: “This is the first part of a very exciting on-going project to produce clean, efficient energy harnessing nature’s resource.
“I was at Tangmere Solar Farm when it opened and our ambition was for the solar farm to be an innovative way to help the local economy, environment as well as producing our own energy. So I am delighted to say that we have achieved this.
“Local companies and suppliers were used in building the solar farm that has started our journey to becoming less reliant on fossil fuels.”
The solar farm was built by Your Energy Sussex - a County Council-led partnership with local councils and construction company Carillion that works with residents and businesses to save energy, reduce their bills and generate renewable energy.
Electricity from Tangmere Solar Farm is fed into the National Grid, earning a year-on-year income for the 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.
Louise Goldsmith, Leader of West Sussex County Council, said: “On top of all the initial benefits, there are extra gains for our buildings as they can be powered by the clean energy from Tangmere, for example libraries, offices, and children & family centres.
“We are now looking forward to the future with a new Energy Strategy and sustainable energy plans to 2020. This includes work to scope out what other possibilities there are in West Sussex including a second solar farm which we are currently exploring in Westhampnett.”
For more information on the 2016 to 2020 Energy Strategy, visit www.westsussex.gov.uk/energystrategy.