‘Solar arrays could be used at derelict greenhouse sites’

SOLAR PV production could be an answer to tidy up derelict glasshouse sites island-wide.

National Trust president Mike Brown in one of his fields. (32190312)
National Trust president Mike Brown in one of his fields. (32190312)

Both the National Trust and La Societe Guernesiaise, which have recently spoken out against domestic developments on former vinery sites, have said they would be discussing the matter at forthcoming meetings.

‘There is lots of merit in situating solar arrays in derelict glasshouses if it is done sympathetically,’ said Trust president Mike Brown.

‘From the UK we have seen them used for grazing sheep and growing wildflowers. There are solar sites in the UK where the biodiversity has increased, and it can be a brilliant thing if done to enhance biodiversity, though it would be detrimental if sites are being sprayed with weedkiller to stop the grass growing.

‘But it would be better than the sites being lost to housing. Having odd houses that are dotted around would be bad for the island’s infrastructure.’

La Societe president Trevor Bourgaize agreed.

‘Converting derelict glasshouses to produce solar energy could benefit the whole island if it was done sustainably,’ he said.

‘La Societe obviously promotes green renewable energy. But using these sites for solar production would really depends on the specific proposal, it would never be black or white.’

Recent changes to the Island Development Plan announced earlier this year would allow for the development of renewable energy production on redundant glass within the current planning framework.

Mr Brown said he supported the overall aims of the electricity strategy, and as someone with solar PV panels at his own home, he was pleased to see solar energy playing a big part in the future of the island’s electricity production.

Neither La Societe or the Trust currently own any derelict glasshouse sites, but Mr Brown said the Trust could be interested in acquiring them if donated, and working with other partners to develop them to produce solar energy.

Mr Bourgaize said that La Societe’s commercial arm, Environment Guernsey, was ready to consult and speak to any interested parties considering adding solar panels on a redundant glass site.

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