A CLIMATE action group is applauding the city council for approving a solar farm which split opinion.

Winchester Action on the Climate Crisis (WinACC) is welcoming the development of a 20-megawatt solar farm on the land south of Sparsholt.

Having evaluated the proposals by the developer and raised queries with them over several months, members of WinACC, with expertise in renewable energy, produced a detailed published analysis and recommended the city council back the plan.

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The plans by Novus and Innova for Pitt Down were narrowly approved at a council meeting earlier this month, with the solar farm receiving 179 objections including Sparsholt Parish Council.

Tim Jackson, WinACC trustee, said: “This development aligns with WinACC's commitment to advancing sustainable energy solutions for our community, whilst also supporting the ‘British Energy Security Strategy’ to accelerate UK homegrown power for greater energy independence in a very unstable international energy market.

“This new solar farm will contribute significantly to our district's electricity needs, capable of supplying up to 3.5 per cent of our consumption. This is equivalent to the output of approximately 5,500 household rooftop installations.”

Hampshire Chronicle: WinACC's Jo Crocker and Kay MitchellWinACC's Jo Crocker and Kay Mitchell (Image: WinACC)

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While WinACC supports solar panels on rooftops and on brownfield sites, the charity recognises the limitations posed by a lack of sufficient and suitable brownfield sites, with grid connection and the slow development of rooftop solar panel installations.

The climate action group believes initiatives like the solar farm will play a vital role in addressing the global emergency.

The plans were approved with six votes for and three against.