A SOLAR farm that is large enough to power over 5,000 homes is under construction in the heart of the Cotswold countryside close to Ampney Crucis.

Building work on the 75-acre solar farm, located on land close to the B4425 Barnsley Road, started at the end of last month.

Following the installation of the 50,000 UV panels, it is expected that the farm will generate enough energy to power 5,100 homes and save more than 7,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere.

Solar farms work by installing large glass panels in open spaces that convert the sun’s light into renewable energy.

Cllr Barry Dent, chairman of Ampney Crucis Parish Council, explained that, while some villagers had reservations about the farm, the majority of local people were in favour.

“We at the parish council took the view that the solar farm was quite acceptable. After looking at the plans, we felt the site was very sheltered and quite secure,” he said.

There had been some unrest in the village with a minority of villagers concerned that the solar farm should not be built on prime agricultural land.

Addressing these concerns, Cllr Dent told the Standard that developer SunEdison has designed the site to accommodate “farming operations of a minor kind”.

He said: “The panels have been set out in such a way that it might be possible to graze animals on the site too.”

SunEdison has also told the local community that noise from the farm will be monitored and that a provision has been made to sow wild flowers on the land once the panels are up.

The developer has also said that all fencing around the site will be finished in a dark green colour to minimise its impact on the character and appearance of the surrounding countryside.

Cllr Dent said: “Our relationship with the developers as been pretty open. We had two meetings with them and on the whole most people were impressed.

“In fact, nobody in the village has come to me with a single complaint.”

The Ampney Crucis solar farm is a temporary structure and after 25 years it will be taken down and the land will revert back to its previous state.

For more information on the solar farm, visit www.solar-planning.co.uk.