Guernsey Press

Solar farm planned at former herbs business

A HUGE solar farm could be created on the former Fresh Guernsey Herbs site, if planning permission is granted.

Guernsey Herbs has applied for permission to turn the vinery in Les Abreuveurs Road into a solar farm. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 32539032)

The property owners of the Les Abreuveurs site in St Sampson’s is in talks with energy supplier Rubis to use the land for reusable energy.

‘The proposal is to clear the site of greenhouses and install an array of ground-mounted photovoltaic solar panels connected to local substations, complete with grid connection and other ancillary infrastructure,’ said said Tom Bourgaize, director of The Drawing Room, in the application.

‘We consider this to be the next most appropriate use for this site beyond agriculture.'

He said that the array was deigned to be installed and removed with minimal ground preparation, or a need for concrete bases or casings. The final design would have extra care taken to avoid damage from the wind.

The new Guernsey Electricity Strategy aims to deliver 5MW of renewable energy by 2025, and 10MW by 2028.

It is predicted this proposed development would generate in the region of 2.95MW.

Mr Bourgaize said local area infrastructure had sufficient capacity to accept this installation

Fresh Guernsey Herbs was run by former tomato growers, who had diversified into herbs, supplying the island for 30 years.

But increased international competition meant the business closed in 2019.

Mr Bourgaize said the site was now a brownfield site and currently redundant.

He added that there would be no unacceptable adverse effect on the living conditions of neighbouring properties or roads.

‘The site would be laid out to maximise the energy exposure to the sun, while considering the visual impact to the area,’ he said.

It is proposed that panels would be up to 2.4m high, lower than the existing glasshouses on site.

Les Abreuveurs Vinery has five blocks of redundant greenhouses, which occupy about 80% of the site.

Under the proposals the greenhouses and ancillary buildings would be demolished, except the existing packing shed to accommodate the electrical plant and equipment associated with the solar panels.

The plans also allow for the construction of a new building to accommodate the equipment and staff required to maintain the land.