A NEW 42,000-panel solar farm in Willersey is opening to the public as part of Solar Independence Day.

As previously reported, Cotswold District Council’s planning committee unanimously approved Beletric Solar’s solar farm at Rainbow Farm, Badsey Lane, last June despite a huge outcry from the community.

The site will be open from 10am to 4pm tomorrow (Friday) for the public to meet key members of the Beletric UK team and take part in tours throughout the day.

The aim of the open day is to educate and show round anyone interested in learning the benefits of solar energy and how it can play a huge part within their community.

Raoul Tufnell, Belectric's UK’s development and planning manager who worked closely on the project said: "I’m thrilled to see the solar farm at Willersey now operational.

"We have sought at every point in the process to listen to the views of the community and since the site has been commissioned, we have worked with the local community on the implementation of ecological and biodiversity enhancements to the site.

"The feedback from the village has been extremely positive and we will to continue to build our relationship with the village for the full 25 year lifetime of the projects operation".

The company recently worked with children from Willersey Primary School who took part in a competition to paint bird boxes for the new solar farm.

Staff visited the school last week with Robin Pote, from International Centre of Birds of Prey, to teach students about the importance of preserving wildlife.

As well as bird boxes, the students painted bat and hedgehog boxes which will form part of a new nature reserve that is being built around the solar panels.

Willersey Solar Farm is a particularly special site for the firm as it is the first solar farm where they have started to introduce their habitat project management programme.

The company has worked with partners including Flowerscapes and the British Beekeepers Association to plant wild flowers, supporting the local bee population and creating a local nature sanctuary within the solar farm.

Residents can now invest and share in the financial, environmental and social benefits of solar power with the launch of Belectric's new community benefit energy company, Big60Million Ltd.

The new company will allow people to invest in solar power by buying community energy solar bonds which are being piloted at the Willersey Solar Farm.