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Dunsfold Park to open up its solar farm on 4th July to celebrate Solar Independence Day

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Dunsfold Park Solar Farm will open to visitors from local homes, schools, businesses and community groups as part of the nationwide Solar Independence Day on July 4th. The event will be held, from 10am until 4pm, at the solar farm at Dunsfold Park, Cranleigh, Surrey.

The event seeks to give visitors the opportunity to ask any questions they have about solar energy to the people building the projects. It also seeks to demonstrate how responsibly developed solar farms are improving the local environment and how solar energy is making the UK more independent from the rising costs of polluting fossil fuels imported from overseas. The event forms part of an educational push by the Solar Trade Association (STA) to communicate the tremendous benefits of all applications of solar, and the need for better and more stable policy support.

Jim McAllister, Dunsfold Park, comments: "We are delighted to support the nationwide Solar Independence Day by opening our doors and inviting the local community to come and see first-hand how green technologies are helping to reduce the aerodrome's carbon footprint."

Best known as home to the BBC's 'Top Gear' race track, Dunsfold Park is a prime example of how solar farms can put clean renewable power to good local use, as it is the first business park in Surrey to be powered entirely by 'green energy'. Lightsource Renewable Energy Limited installed 8,500 ground level solar panels at Dunsfold aerodrome. The solar array, in a discreet location and perfectly orientated to make the most of the natural light, is already bringing environmental benefits to the area.

The placing of the solar panels make it possible for the electricity generated during working hours to be used by businesses at Dunsfold Park and, at weekends and times of high supply, for the excess energy to be fed back into the National Grid. The capacity of the system is two megawatts; sufficient energy to supply approximately 670 households. Dunsfold Park is the only utility scale solar installation in Surrey and is one of the latest plants to be added to the Lightsource operational portfolio.

Nick Boyle, Lightsource CEO, says: "Our solar scheme at Dunsfold Park is a prime example of how "home-grown" renewable energy can be put to good commercial use for the benefit of the local community. There remains huge opportunity in the UK for solar energy and examples of successful schemes like Dunsfold Park showcase this fact perfectly."

The Solar Open Day event is part of a wider commitment in the solar industry to building enduring relationships with communities hosting solar farms, from initial project development and construction through the lifetime of the project to its eventual decommissioning. The 4th July famously marks the birth of the independent United States of America. Barclays recently downgraded the whole electricity high-grade bond market in the USA, stating: "We believe that solar and storage could reconfigure the organisation and regulation of the electric power business over the coming decade" [6]. The solar industry has chosen this day for the event because increased independence is a key benefit of solar energy in the UK.

Increased independence from imports of polluting fossil fuels
Solar power, like most renewable energy, is home-grown. Sunlight is free, is not owned by anyone and will not run out for millions of years. Every unit of solar energy offsets the need to pay for fossil fuels from places like Russia or Qatar. Solar power is rapidly getting cheaper while fossil fuels are expected to get more expensive as the twenty-first century wears on. 15% of UK electricity currently comes from renewables [7]. The higher this number gets, the more secure our electricity supply becomes, and the lower the risk of triggering dangerous climate change.

Increased independence for UK agriculture and produce
Harvesting the sunshine provides an additional and secure income stream for UK farming businesses, reducing exposure to financial risk resulting from poor crop yields, which will become increasingly common due to climate change. Solar farms can also accommodate sheep grazing under and between the panels and equipment. The posts panels are raised on typically take up less than 1% of the land area with 25-40% of the surface over-sailed by panels. By making UK farming businesses more independent, secure and sustainable, solar helps safeguard these businesses' ability to increase their production of home-grown food, boosting the UK's food security.

Increased independence for consumers from high energy bills
By putting solar panels on your roof, or working with your community to develop a larger solar project, you can take back ownership of your energy supply from the monopoly of the 'Big Six' energy companies.

We invite everyone with an interest in solar to come along to Dunsfold Park Solar Farm on July 4th - from members of the media to local residents, schools, businesses and community groups.

Site Details: -

Dunsfold Aerodrome
Dunsfold Park, Cranleigh, Surrey, GU6 8TB

Hosted By:
Lightsource Renewable Energy

To book your place contact: Mike Day
E: mike.day@lightsource-re.co.uk

The following Health & Safety measures will apply:

  • No dogs allowed
  • Children must be accompanied by adults (CRB checked where necessary)
  • Practical footwear must be worn at all times– walking boots/trainers/flat shoes
  • There are no facilities such as toilets available on-site
  • In case of bad weather, please bring appropriate clothing (umbrellas, waterproofs, etc) as there will be limited shelter on site