Huge solar farm given go ahead: See it on a map

It’s claimed to be the largest solar farm site on the Island. We’ve got it for you plotted on a map of the Island. It’s big. Really big.

A company based in Ireland has been given the go-ahead, by the Isle of Wight council planning committee, to build the largest solar farm on the Island.

It is hoped by the developer, BNRG Renewables, that the 75-acre development at Hill Farm, St Helens/Brading will produce 10MW of electricity.

The CP say that the approval was given with the understanding that the panels be removed after 25 years. It’s also reported that St Helens Parish Council objected to the development, whilst Brading Town Council supported it.

See it on the map
We’ve plotted site of the solar farm based on the paperwork submitted with the planning application.

If you want to see a larger version, to gain more context, please take a look at the map of the solar farm that we’ve prepared.

View HIll Farm – Solar Farm plans in a larger map

BNRG Renewables

Image: Google maps

Location map
View the location of this story.

Wednesday, 23rd January, 2013 4:01pm



Filed under: Brading, Business, Farming, Green Issues, Island-wide, Isle of Wight News, Planning, St Helens, Top story

Any views or opinions presented in the comments below are solely those of the author and do not represent those of OnTheWight.

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36 Comments on "Huge solar farm given go ahead: See it on a map"

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somewhat better than great big wind farms spoiling the landscape

Mr T

I’m assuming that’s 10MW per hour (10MWh)?


Well if it can produce 10MW, then each hour it supplies maximum load for is an energy production of 10MWh or 36000000000 Joules.


So, energy production vs. food production. Let battle commence!

Mr T

Assuming it is 10MWh, that’s the same as around 3-4 windmills (for those that feel the need to compare or justify/affirm any particular intolerance/support).

I’d take 3-4 windmills and keep 74 acres of farmland personally (wonder if solar is more profitable for farmers than wind power as it means they can rent out a much larger area of land?)

“will produce 10MW of electricity” What, all the time? :-) I think they mean it CAN produce 10MW in the middle of a sunny day. The average insolation (incident sunlight) round here is about 10%, so it will deliver around 1MW over the year. This is only economic if it includes a hefty subsidy, which appears on our bills under ‘government obligations’ or somesuch, and is one… Read more »
James, I think you are rather mistaken. Solar PV needs daylight to work, not sunlight. As there are already quite a number of solar farms installed and in production on the IOW, which are apparently ahead of their production targets the evidence points to you being very wide of the mark. Lest we forget George Monbiot is a journalist not a scientist. As his ramblings on the… Read more »

I’m not mistaken at all.

I notice you don’t address the subsidies, without which no-one would put them up in the first place.

I mentioned George Monbiot as he’s normally the darling of the green movement, but even he thinks that solar PV is a scam. You know about his bet with Jeremy Leggett, I suppose?

Mark L Francis

No ?

That study is from mid-Scotland, which gets significantly less daylight than the IOW. There’s also a comment about the type of panels. The question you should be asking is ‘what’s the type of panels that are being used in the IOW solar farms?’ If they’re the domestic-scale type panels (inefficient as flagged in the web link) then there’s a point. If they’re those which are effective in… Read more »

There is no such thing as ‘poorest farmland’, there’s abused land, and industrial chemical ‘farmers’, but it’s nothing a mycologist and a regenarative gardner couldn’t sort out.

PV itself is ok, but perhaps a decentralised and community owned approach would be better arrangement.They should also be covering existing buildings, and not acres of food security.


Tosh. Agricultural land is graded 1-5 on a range of factors – gradient, soil quality, flooding, drainage etc etc. Poorest land would be heavy clay soil which is on a flood plain. All it will support is grass and animals at a very low density. If you want to learn more start here:

Mr T
Your wrong on two counts James: A) Solar needs daylight NOT sunlight (that’s what incident sunlight is – it doesn’t mean direct sunlight). B) By your calculation it will produce 1MW per hour, NOT per year. However I think this is probably also wildly wrong (see below). For starters I’m not sure where you’ve plucked the 10% incident sunlight figure from – it’s probably more like 30-40%.… Read more »
A) Read my link above for the effect of clouds on sunlight. Power drops dramatically in shade, as you might guess if you’re sunbathing and a cloud goes by. B) You’re confusing power and energy. Energy (MWh) is what you pay for and power (MW) is the rate at which you consume it. There is no such thing as “MW per hour”. I admit 10% was a… Read more »
Mr T
First off, I’m a scientist, so telling me there’s no such thing as MWh is a bit baffling! Here’s a simple link for you: 1MW is equivalent to about 10 car engines. Being as I have a few solar panels on my roof (and my electricity meter has been running backwards) I can comfortably attest that 75 acres of the things will produce quite a bit… Read more »
OK, Mr I’m-a-scientist; if you read my comment again, you will see that I do not say there’s no such thing as a MWh, I quoted the original error of MW per hour, which is not the same at all. Despite your link, you seem a bit confused about the difference between energy and power yourself – wind turbines are not rated in MWh, and the original… Read more »
Billy Builder

Surely it would be better to use the land for agriculture and fit solar panels to the ten’s of thousands of the islands rooftops


I thought this too. But then do you need additional hardware at the home for each installation to put the energy back into the grid?


That’s a lot of MWs. Bravo! :)

Would we rather have a nuclear power station on the Medina ? I don’t think so ! We all consume power, some more than others, but it is time to grow up so that there is still a world left to pass on to our children and grand children. Just stop being so negative the WHOLE time and start to embrace change and helpful technology. It will… Read more »

Great news!

For the Chinese makers of the panels. Great news too for the landowner – who gets a very generous taxpayer guaranteed return for 25 years.

Bad news for common sense. Decent land is best used for food production – although the barmy EU prefers paying farmers to ‘manage’ the countryside.

It remains a mad world.


I rather doubt they’ll last 25 years. Which is some comfort.. :-)


Why do you doubt they’ll last 25 years? They do exactly what they’re expected to.

You can’t actually put solar panels on ‘decent land’ only poor quality land which is marginal for food production, so the solar panels are the best use of the land for the landowner.


Because they’re Chinese..?


Do you know if they’re Chinese? Sanyo (Japan) also produce panels and they’re made in Mexico.


I was responding to IslandMonkey’s comment about “the Chinese makers of the panels”.

The life of the panels may not matter to the landowner anyway, as he will have a nice 25-year contract to fall back on…

Don Smith

I agree with you JamesPs 100%.


the land can still be used for food production,if they are on legs as in photo then grass will grow under them and sheep can graze the grass,there by producing meat for food,simples.


This is true, the company I work for has a solar farm to help power their data centres and sheep can always been seen grazing around them.

Don Smith

Will they last for twenty-five years?


Fully agree with island monkeys comment , we need to put these panels on all industrial buildings and new homes when built . Don’t forget our beloved council offices that can also have a Hot air collection system installed …….

I am a strong believer in the need to shift the electricity production from fossil fuels to renewables. Despite some claims, we are only ever going to use more electric and not less. However, this Island needs to think in a clear coherent fashion with a good plan and leadership prepared to back it. This is not Spain, this is not the Sahara. We have more sun… Read more »
Try and go have a look at some of the +20MW of solar installed on the IOW already. It sounds like you never have. The solar farms I know of have excellent flora growing around it. The panels are on uprights which are simply driven into the ground – the only concrete is for the transformers. This flora will also support a wide variety of fauna too… Read more »
Hill Farm solar- “Brading’s Planning Committee chairman… a geography teacher…told the meeting her A-level students carried out a scheme analysis- unaminously concluding that the benefits far outweighed the costs.” (CP 25/1/13 pg.1) Well then! ‘Nuff said! “No question remains!” You couldn’t invent it could you? :-)) There are rumours that toddlers in nursery classes in Cowes are finger-painting an artist’s impression of the proposed Medina Asphalt Plant,… Read more »

“unaminously concluding that the benefits far outweighed the costs”

And I wonder how they calculated the costs? Are the subsidies in there..?

Cost-Benefit Analysis is a tricky thing to perform for the the reason you point out. How have the costs and the benefits been calculated?, what assumptions have been made?, over what time frame?, what are the best-case and worst-case scenarios? and so on. If experienced and fully trained Civll Service economists usually have substantial difficulty arriving at a firm CBA conclusion, I suggest that A-level students would… Read more »