Generating and storing zero-carbon electricity to support energy transition.
West Sussex County Council is committed to developing a secure, affordable, and sustainable energy supply. We had already delivered our first 5 MW solar farm project at Tangmere on a former airfield site when Westhampnett opened in 2018. Westhampnett was one of the first publicly-owned solar farms developed with large on-site batteries. These are used to store surplus energy which is released to the grid at times of peak demand.
The 7.4 MW solar farm is built on a former landfill site that had no alternative use due to the presence of methane gas. The development of Westhampnett Solar Farm was an exciting opportunity to use land that was unable to be used for anything else. And, after the success of Tangmere Solar Farm, the council was keen to increase renewable energy generation at another solar site.
Westhampnett was developed after feed-in tariffs were no longer available from the government, so we had to consider another economic model. Battery storage was an important part of this vision, allowing the council to store and generate income from energy at times of high demand – this was a vital part of building a robust business case for investment. The income generated from the farm supports council services and local communities across the region.
The council is also committed to supporting biodiversity at Westhampnett. We took precautions to ensure ground-nesting birds were protected during the construction phase and have introduced planting and habitats that support local species.
Westhampnett Solar Farm is helping West Sussex County Council to reduce carbon emissions and reach its ambitious target of net-zero by 2030.
Develop clear leadership and support from the top –
We have been able to develop and successfully deliver this ambitious project because of strong support from our politicians and senior officers.
Create a robust business case –
By developing a robust and realistic business case for each project that we deliver and making sure the financial modelling makes sense, we increase our chances of successful delivery.
Our Metrics –
These are our results for 2020/2021:
Both Tangmere and Westhampnett solar farms performed in line with the expected generation set out in the original business case (Tangmere was 6% above predicted, Westhampnett was on track).
Both farms produced 12,520 MWh of zero-carbon electricity, which is enough to power about 4,300 average homes.
Compared to generating this amount of electricity from non-renewable sources, the solar farms prevented approximately 3,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere that year.
Read more: www.westsussex.gov.uk