Land south of Rue du Moulin à Vent, St Clement, could be the site for Jersey’s first ground mounted solar farm, if plans by Jersey Electricity get the go-ahead.
The utility company is looking to raise the amount of on-Island solar photovoltaic (PV) generation as part of its strategy to increase diversity in on-island electricity generation by installing approximately 4 MWp of ground solar PV in the area.
Jersey Electricity (JE) has so far focused on bringing roof-based solar on to the grid with four installations on its Power Station, Queen’s Road Solar Hub, Jersey Dairy and Woodside Farm, currently generating around one million kWh (units) a year. A planned fifth array on the roof of the Albert Bartlett potato processing plant in St Helier is set to produce a further half a million kWh a year.
Now JE is looking to install a series of strategically placed ground-based solar PV projects on carefully selected sites close to grid connections which could bring on-Island generation of solar PV to above 10MWp within a few years. That would generate 11 million kWh a year, enough to power more than 1,500 Jersey homes a year using an average 7,300 kWh per year.
JE CEO Chris Ambler says: “Advances in solar panel technology mean that higher energy outputs can be achieved using significantly less land than previously possible. This greatly improves the viability of ground-mounted solar, and our aim has always been to make local renewables affordable.
“There is a desire for Jersey to be more energy independent and we believe that ground-mounted solar PV can now play an increasing and valuable role as part of Jersey’s energy mix and sovereignty.”
The Moulin à Vent Solar Farm project is a 12-acre site that already benefits from established natural screening, ensuring low visual impact. The site will remain in agricultural usage, initially being laid to grass for grazing.
Working with local ecologists, JE is proposing additional planting around the site, including planting more than 900 new native hedgerow plants to enhance screening. The solar PV panels typically take up less than 15% of the site area leaving huge scope to protect and improve existing wildlife habitats and provide biodiversity gain.
Plans and details of the Moulin à Vent Solar Farm proposal will be available for parishioners to view and discuss with the JE project team on Tuesday 19th July from 10am to 6pm at Caldwell Hall (adjacent to St Clement’s Parish Church).