TWO more solar farms have been announced for West Oxfordshire.

A planning application has been submitted for 22,000 panels over 30 acres at Homeleaze Farm, Grafton, near Bampton.

And another plan for 5,600 panels at Shipton-under-Wychwood has been announced.

Plans for Oxfordshire’s first major solar energy farm, at Cornbury Park, near Charlbury, were unveiled last month.

Some 27,000 panels would be installed on a 38-acre site, the home of Lord Rotherwick.

Homeleaze Farm owner, Andrew Harris, said: “I’m not a great green eco-warrior, but it’s my generation’s duty to provide sustainable power for future generations.

“Small things like this make a difference, and lots of them make a big difference.”

He said he was trying to “maximise the potential” of his land, adding: “It does potentially earn more than growing crops will.”

The scheme would see him lease the land to firm Low Carbon Solar, which will develop and manage the site for the next 25 years.

It will produce energy for the national grid under the ‘Feed In Tariff’ scheme, launched in April. This guarantees owners of solar panels, wind turbines and hydroelectric turbines a guaranteed tax-free return for 25 years.

Residents in the village, which has a population of 31, broadly welcomed the plans.

Grafton resident Neil Ray, 61, said: “In principle, I’m not against it, but we need to know more information.

“But I think we’ve got to embrace new technology — we are obviously going to run out of gas and oil eventually, so we’ve got to come up with other ways of producing electricity.”

John Eddolls, chairman of Grafton and Radcot Parish Meeting, said: “The way the world is going, we have got to have all this solar energy because we are going to run out of oil.

“No one in the village will see it from their house other than [Mr Harris].”

He said: “It came as a bit of a shock to one or two, but there weren’t any nasty comments about it.”

Gillian Salway, chairman of the West Oxfordshire Campaign to Protect Rural England, said: “My initial reaction is that, in principle, CPRE is obviously in favour of finding alternative forms of energy. If that’s done in a way which is sensitive to the environment, then I can’t see that it is a worse use of land than something like covering it with polythene to grow tomatoes underneath.”

The Shipton-under-Wychwood plan would see 5,600 panels at 3.2 hectares of land at a farm on Milton Road.

Farm owner, Sam Simsons, said: “I’m passionate about Shipton and Milton and the people here, and I want them to understand that this could power 245 homes locally.”

An exhibition on the plans will be held at Wychwood CE Primary School, Milton Road, from 1pm to 5pm on Saturday this week.