Kingsway Solar Farm

For more information about the Solar Farm visit our new webpage

There was a public meeting at Balsham Sports Pavilion on Monday 18th March at which a representative of Kingsway Solar Farm Ltd presented their proposed development of a large solar farm and battery storage facility. This was mentioned in the District and County Councilor’s reports from January 2024 where it was said that the solar farm would be situated “from the north of Linton/Abington up to Balsham and west, roughly following the route of the Roman Road, across the A11 to the edge of Fulbourn”.

This was the very first presentation to the public – either live or online – about the proposed development. The plans may well change from what we were shown at the meeting, and before they put anything in print in the public domain – so don’t panic just yet; however rumors and speculation will start, so I felt it important to share with you what we’ve been told.

The meeting was pretty heated. At one point the presenter showed a pretty poor map of the land area that the developers hope to lease from landowners to build their solar farm. From a photo of that I have created this map, which tries to show the information more clearly.

Here are two versions of my map from which you should get the picture. There are four areas of land that the developers want to lease, shown in blue, yellow, pink and orange. I’ve marked Balsham Road and Six Mile Bottom Road in blue to get you oriented. I also show the Ickneid Way in dashed black, and I’ve marked the parish boundaries in red.

Download a high resolution version of this simple map.

This can also be seen in a satellite view

Download a high resolution version of this satellite view.

Here’s a very simplified version in black and white

This was the very first public presentation of this material which is at an early stage of development, so plans may change. The presenter said a deal is about to be signed for the orange area, which has several ‘ongoing’ surveys being carried out  (environmental, ecological, archaeological, etc).  As an indication of how early this is in the development process, a member of the audience said he works for Dungate Farm – which is the pink area shown above – and according to him the owner has no intention of making a deal with Kingsway Solar. The areas shown may be somewhat ambitious. Perhaps the developers think everyone has their price!

This will be a massive solar farm, generating 500 MW, which is “enough for 253,000 houses”. Overall the land used by the solar farm will be ~700 hectares. In addition to the sea of black glass panels that will occupy 65-75% of the land area the site will have large battery units that will store the energy that’s generated until it is needed (and also download energy from the national grid to smooth-out supply). These storage units are each the size of a 20 ft shipping container, and there will be several hundred of them over the solar farm!

The motivation for building the solar farm here is convenient access to a very high voltage power line – a main trunk of the national grid. It’s the same one that Wadlow Wind farm uses. A substation will need to be built to connect to that line, and access roads may need to be built. The life of the solar farm is expected to be 35-40 years, after which it will either be decommissioned and the land returned to as it is now, or the solar farm may be updated for another phase.

Various benefits to us were outlined, including funding to parish councils, free rooftop solar schemes for residents, electric vehicle charging points, permissive paths through the solar farm, use of local tradesmen during construction and for maintenance, and increased biodiversity.

This really is an ethical dilemma. For the survival of human civilization as we know it we need to move away from fossil fuel power as soon as possible – and solar must be part of the mix of renewable energy sources. At the same time nobody wants to wreck the lovely country environment in which we’ve chosen to live.

There’s very little information online about this proposed development. Balsham Parish Council were pretty angry about that.  The information that was shown tonight is new to the public, although the developers have been working on this project for about a year. There were many complaints about the quality of the map – which is shown against a satellite image of the fields so was a bit difficult to understand. That’s why I’ve recreated it so that you to view the information in several different ways.

As far as I understand, this is such a large project that it will not be going through the local planning process. It is not driven by subsidies, it is part of national policy, and the developers will only make money when electricity is supplied to the national grid (not when developing or building). Non-statutory public consultation will be happening over the summer 2024, and with statutory consultation in 2025. 

Even though the information we have is rather sketchy I wanted to get it to you as soon as possible. I’m sure we’ll all be asked lots of questions about this.  There will be further public events which will be very important to attend to get your views across.


Simon Chandler