We are committed to developing a secure, affordable and sustainable energy supply and making use of energy from renewable sources. This is set out in the West Sussex Energy Strategy.
We are working with Your Energy Sussex, the local council energy partnership, to identify council-owned sites suitable for renewable energy generation.
We are also installing solar panels on our buildings, including offices, schools, libraries and fire stations, to reduce our energy costs and environmental impact.
We currently own and operate two solar farms which make use of unused, low-grade land to generate renewable electricity and an income. Some of the electricity is used to power our own buildings.
We carry out work to improve the ecological value of all our solar farm and battery sites. This includes measures to protect native species before and during construction and improve their habitats once the solar panels and batteries are in place. Our solar farms can also be used to graze sheep.
Tangmere solar farm
Opened in 2015 on the site of the former Tangmere Airfield, the 18,000 panels at the 5MW solar farm generate enough zero carbon electricity to power 1,500 homes.
It will generate £13.8 million from feed-in-tariffs and electricity sales during the lifetime of the project.
Westhampnett solar farm
When the site opened in October 2018, it became the first publicly-owned solar farm to be developed with large, on-site batteries. They are used to store surplus energy generated by the 26,000 panels at the 7.4MW solar farm and release it to the grid when it is needed during peak periods.
The solar farm is built on a former landfill site that had no alternative use due to the presence of methane gas.
We have installed solar panels on more than 80 of our schools to help them reduce their energy costs and impact on the environment in the coming years. The systems range in size from 15 to 250 kilowatts and have a total combined generation capacity equivalent to Tangmere solar farm.
Further proposals for solar farms and battery storage sites are under development for 2019/20, including a battery storage facility on the former waste transfer station at Halewick Lane, Sompting.