Solar farm near Swaffham throws open its doors to visitors

14:11 07 July 2014

Visitors got the chance to look around the Burnstalks Solar Farm near Narford Hall. Picture: Matthew Usher.

Visitors got the chance to look around the Burnstalks Solar Farm near Narford Hall. Picture: Matthew Usher.

© Archant Norfolk 2014

A rare insight into the workings of a solar farm was given to members of the public when an operating site threw open its gates to visitors.

Burntstalks Solar Farm in Narford, just outside Swaffham, held an open day as part of the nationwide Solar Independence Day on Friday.

The event gave people the chance to take an hour-long tour of the 61-acre site, discover more about how the 130,000 solar panels absorb daylight to be used for electricity and ask questions about the impact of the farm on the land.

People travelled far and wide to take up the opportunity, including councillors from other districts and a couple from South Norfolk who live close to a proposed solar farm.

The event was hosted by solar energy firm Lightsource which operates the site.

Operations and maintenance technician Allan Hawkins, who carries out quarterly tests on the farm, said: “It’s very rare to give people the chance to visit the site, it’s effectively a power station so we can’t open it up to everyone.”

He added: “it’s good to give people the chance to have a look. People drive past these things and don’t know how they work.”

Burnstalks Solar Farm has been in operation since March last year and has a life-span of between 20 and 25 years. It is an 11.5-megawatt site which Lightsource says powers enough electricity for 3,800 homes.

Lesley and Michael Culling, who live in Yelverton, where Lightsource has lodged plans to build a 7.31MW solar farm at Avenue Farm, took the opportunity to visit Burnstalks Solar Farm as part of their fact-finding mission.

The couple, who live next door to the proposed site in their village, have objected to the plans and have been visiting other sites to discover more about solar farms and their locations.

Mrs Culling said: “This (the solar farm) is going to be our back garden. What has been proposed for Yelverton is in the wrong place, just outside the village, next to residents.

“This, I couldn’t find, it’s in an area of fields and you can’t see it - it’s hidden away. I think they (solar farms) are fine in the right place, in the wrong place they are not. “

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  • Windless….you have been saying for a long time about Solar energy not producing much electric an only good for charging a mobile…….Well I don’t suppose you were watching Sky news last night about Solar panelsfarms. Scientists have managed to use the Sun's rays to create the same energy that is currently produced in coal or gas-fired power stations. The breakthrough in Australia means one day the Sun could compete with fossil fuels to provide our energy needs.Using solar energy, scientists have reached temperatures and pressures never before achieved to create "supercritical steam". At a research centre in Newcastle, north of Sydney, a field of mirrors is angled to catch the Sun's rays and reflect them onto a receiving tower. The field of beams creates temperatures up to 570C, which combined with high pressure produces the steam which current solar power plants have been unable to make. This breakthrough in technology in the Solar energy could see the way forward for the worlds current energy needs and within the next decade.

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    Monday, July 14, 2014

  • Solar farm near Swaffham throws open its doors to NIMBY’S & IDIOTS….and in walks “WINDLASS” Windlass = idiocy every time…!

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    Saturday, July 12, 2014

  • Ah hello Windless...I'll try again. I'll see if you can answer me this time. First some "facts" See Ofgem Factsheet 98 for the breakdown of your contribution to renewable energy. The ROC and the FiT come to £27 per year for an average household (I assume you are not in a typical family unit so less for you). Not worth busting a blood vessel over when compared to the £7bn clean up bill for our old nuclear plants. Now what was your way forward for UK energy policy into the future. If it's not a domestic low carbon industry - is it nuclear, fracking, French nuclear, or liquid gas from those champions of human rights - Qatar. What should we be doing? In addition, fossil fuels are not withour their subsidies, tax breaks for Fracking and North sea Gas. Truth is there are no easy answers to our future energy needs. For renewables it's very early days and the industry requires support, just same as the other energy industries.

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    Thursday, July 10, 2014

  • "Solar farm near Swaffham throws open its doors to visitors" I assume you meant SUBSIDY farm???

    Report this comment


    Tuesday, July 8, 2014

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