Lightsource bp’s Chalcroft Solar Farm in Southampton was visited and admired by The Minister of State for Energy

UK-based Lightsource Renewable Energy, one of Europe’s leading solar energy companies, welcomed the Minister of State for Energy, Matthew Hancock MP, for a guided tour of Chalcroft Solar Farm, in Southampton. Joined by prospective Parliamentary candidate Mims Davies and a team from Lightsource, the Minister was able to experience the benefits of a successful solar farm project.

Generating clean energy since 2013, the 40-acre Chalcroft Solar Farm provides enough “home-grown” energy to power more than 2,000 homes. As well as generating power, the site has also been designed with continued agricultural use in mind. Wide field margins and spaces between the rows of panels can easily accommodate small livestock. The landowner plans to make the site home to a flock of ducks and geese.

A bespoke biodiversity management plan has also been put in place for the site featuring new planting of native trees and hedgerows, as well as bird nesting boxes installed around the site to improve prospects for local wildlife.

Mr Hancock MP, said: “The great thing about Lightsource’s solar farm is that it is so inconspicuous. As we drove to this site, it was actually difficult to find and spot in the landscape.”

Mims Davies, prospective parliamentary candidate for Eastleigh, added: “This solar farm is remarkable and the fact we simply couldn’t see it on our way in is excellent. There are many potential benefits to solar and when you compare that to objections to fracking, it demonstrates how beneficial solar can be.

“Eastleigh is struggling in terms of traffic congestion and the pollution issues impacting the residents a serious problem. This solar farm is brilliant to help deal with the issues we are facing locally.”

Lightsource operates the largest portfolio of solar PV projects in Europe, having deployed over £1.5billion of investment into the local economy since its inception in 2010. The company is also firmly on track to become the first solar energy company in the world to reach a 1 Gigawatt operational portfolio of solar PV assets deployed in one country.

Lightsource also recently announced the allocation of £125 million towards developing solar PV rooftop projects across the UK, which will benefit businesses, schools, social and affordable housing and households; aiming to provide up to 60% reductions in daytime electricity bills through fully funded, high performance, solar PV projects.

Lightsource's Kate Baxter speaks with Mims Davies and Matthew Hancock MP

[1] Fraunhofer-Institute for Solar Energy Systems (ISE). February 2015. Current and Future Cost of Photovoltaics.

[2] International Energy Agency (IEA). 2014. Photovoltaic Energy Roadmap.​​