Ridge Clean Energy are developing a renewable energy park, consisting of a solar farm and battery energy storage system, on land to the south west of Wootton Common, on the Isle of Wight.

On 5th September 2023, the Isle of Wight Planning Committee voted to approve the Sunny Oaks Renewable Energy Park.  This website will continue to be updated as we progress matters, posting news on:

  • The Project
  • Project Timeline
  • Community Partnership

We’re looking forward to liaising further with the local community and its initiatives as the project progresses. If you wish to contact the project team with any questions or ideas you can do so via the ‘Contact Us’ tab.

  View Site Boundary
Ridge Clean Energy

Project Outline

  • The project would be located on privately owned pasture and feedstock land to the south west of Wootton Common.
  • The project could generate approximately 20MW of solar photovoltaic electricity.
  • The project could host up to 28.5MW of BESS (Battery Energy Storage System), discharged over two hours.
  • It is currently estimated that the solar farm will generate the equivalent electricity needs of approximately 5,150 Isle of Wight homes (based on average domestic consumption per household of 3900kWh p.a., DBEIS 2020).
  • From the displacement of electricity generated from fossil fuel powered generation, the proposed development would offset the emissions of a significant quantity of pollutants. This reduction in emissions would contribute to the national legislation of net zero emissions by 2050, as well as the climate emergency declared by Isle of Wight Council and its target of achieving net zero across the whole island community by 2040.
  • The project would result in at least a 37% net gain in habitat and biodiversity, through new ecological and enhanced planting measures.
  • Once the renewable energy park is operating, the community benefit fund will be made available to assist local projects, however we have already commenced working to support Island initiatives, in advance of and entirely separate to our application submission.

Infrastructure, Surveys & EIA


A range of infrastructure will be required as part of the new renewable energy park, which will include ground-mounted solar panels, inverters, a Battery Energy Storage System (BESS), transformer units, switch gear and substation, and temporary construction compounds.


Our proposals and designs for the site have been guided by data gathered during surveys, technical assessments, by advice provided by independent environmental consultants and information gathered from the local community across our ongoing consultation exercises. Surveys began in Autumn 2021 and will continue through Spring 2022. The technical assessment reports (that form part of the application for planning permission) will be available on this website upon submission.

Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)

Ridge Clean Energy submitted a a request for a Screening Opinion to the Isle of Wight Council in February 2022, who’s Screening Opinion confirmed that an EIA was not required.

Solar Generation


Battery Storage

Up to 28.5MW

Island Homes Powered


  Project Timeline

Commencement of Surveys - Autumn 2021

In Autumn 2021 we started our ecology work.

Ridge Clean Energy - Project Timeline Ridge Clean Energy - Project Timeline

Public Exhibitions - Spring 2022

In Spring 2022 we hosted two public exhibitions in the locality around the proposed Sunny Oaks Renewable Energy Park.

Ridge Clean Energy - Project Timeline Ridge Clean Energy - Project Timeline

Planning Application Submission - Autumn 2022

Our planning application was submitted to the Isle of Wight Council in the Autumn of 2022.

Ridge Clean Energy - Project Timeline Ridge Clean Energy - Project Timeline

Planning Determination - September 2023

On 5th September 2023, the Isle of Wight Planning Committee voted to approve the Sunny Oaks Renewable Energy Park.

Ridge Clean Energy - Project Timeline Ridge Clean Energy - Project Timeline


We’re delighted to announce that on the 5th September 2023, the Isle of Wight Planning Committee voted to approve the Sunny Oaks Renewable Energy Park.

This website will continue to be updated as we progress matters further.

Ridge Clean Energy

Newsletter October 2022

Public Exhibition Posters May 2022

What We Do

Successful projects require alignment of interests amongst landowners, communities, policy makers, and businesses.

The Ridge team works hard to understand interests and build enduring partnerships.

Ridge Clean Energy

  Community Partnerships

As part of our community engagement we have been liaising with Island charities and have been pleased to already support important ongoing work.

RCE have been sponsors of the Going Electric show organised by Wight Community Energy, for the past two years.  The electric transport and green technology show, a free event held at the Isle of Wight College, attracted over 1000 people this year who were able to explore all the latest cars, vans, bikes and learn more about renewable energy.

RCE have supported the training of ‘Energy Helpmates’ for The Footprint Trust, an Island charity who focus on working with the community to promote the benefits of sustainable living.  The ‘Energy Helpmates are volunteers who are trained to offer help and guidance on benefits, debt, energy and water efficiency and general saving of money.

We have helped to fund stock at the Pan Together Community Larder which opened in November 2022.  The Pan Community Larder enables local residents to purchase food at a greatly reduced cost. RCE also hope to work with the community pantry scheme on the island in the future.

RCE have also worked with Future Isle of Wight to train a retrofit assessor who will be able to assess the energy performance of a building and advise the appropriate refit to reduce energy and CO2 emissions.

We hope to continue this fantastic work into the future and look forward to learning more about the Isle of Wight’s sustainable community.

  Community Benefits

During the public exhibitions at Wootton Bridge and Newport held in May 2022 the RCE team met many local people and began to learn about the needs of the community and a number of Island based initiatives.

We thank the community for comments received to date. These comments have been taken into consideration and passed to our environmental specialists, therefore informing the scheme design and assessment work. The Statement of Community Involvement submitted with the planning application provides further details on community engagement.

Since then we have supported the local community by sponsoring events such as the Party in the Park at Wootton Bridge and by donating to the Coronation celebrations.

Ridge Clean Energy were invited to a nearby primary school to deliver a presentation to Key Stage 2 pupils focused on renewable energy and solar power.  This was well received by teachers and pupils and we hope to do more in the future.  RCE are committed to utilising the educational opportunities that the Sunny Oaks Renewable Energy Park site will have to offer from primary level to higher education.  To this end we have engaged with Wootton Community Primary School, Medina College and the IOW College.

Once constructed Sunny Oaks Renewable Energy Park would support a community benefit fund of £500 per MW, equating to £10,000 per year for the 20MW site.  This fund would be used to support local initiatives in the area

If you have any ideas on how we can support your local area, please complete our Local Community Survey below.

  Our Experience

We have an experienced Community Partnership Team that work with local communities to create enduring local benefits.

Each project is assigned a Community Partnership Coordinator, who will forge relationships with key stakeholders in the area to identify and develop local initiatives and ideas that will support the community and its path to Net Zero.

Alongside our experience, we can also provide up-front seed capital and support with fundraising for local projects, allowing a community to benefit right from the beginning of the partnership.

Net Zero Community App

RCE’s Net Zero Community App will help the local community measure and achieve their carbon reduction.

  Community Survey

  Project Documents

The application documents can also be viewed through this dedicated project website.

The Isle of Wight Council have indicated that they intend to determine the application by 6th January 2023.

  Project FAQs


The Sunny Oaks Renewable Energy Park is located adjacent to the existing Wootton substation.

Land to the north of the road is the least preferred from an operational farming perspective and thus we have focussed the solar panel development in this area.

The batteries and substation are proposed to be in a portion of one field (immediately east of the existing substation), at the southern extent of our Indicative Application Boundary.

Plans on this website, and that were shown at our public exhibitions, identify the locations of the solar panels, battery units and substation.

In February 2022, we submitted a request for an EIA Screening Opinion to the Isle of Wight Council (IOWC). In March 2022, the IOWC responded confirming that an EIA was not required for the Proposed Development.

Notwithstanding this, a comprehensive suite of environmental assessments have been prepared and were submitted as part of the application.

New development, of any kind in any location, can cause local interest. However property value is subjective and can be affected by a range of factors. There is no firm evidence on whether UK solar farms do or do not affect house prices in the long term.

Potential impact on local properties, in terms of noise, visibility and glint and glare, have been assessed as part of the preparation of this planning application and we are proposing peripheral screening hedging as part of the Proposed Development.

We are proposing a community benefit fund, part of which could be utilised to conduct energy audits of local properties (with the effect of reducing energy demand and thus energy bills), or a rebate to local properties.

Access & Construction

As with any new development, there would be a temporary construction period that would require construction vehicles to utilise the local road network. During the temporary construction process, construction traffic would be managed using standard industry management techniques to reduce impacts where possible. During operation, solar farms generate minimal traffic (through routine maintenance) which is often not noticeable on the road network.

We are liaising with Island Roads on the Proposed Development.

The potential use of Park Road was raised during our public exhibitions. We commit to not routing Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs) along Park Road during the temporary construction process. Park road has weight and size restrictions in place.

If delivery vehicles were averaged out across the 6 month construction process, there would be approximately 4 ‘two way’ Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGV) movements per day – equating to 8 daily movements.

Solar panels do not require concrete foundations unless in very special circumstances, such as in very small areas in proximity to the buried gas pipelines through the site. Some concrete is required for foundations at the new substation, but this is very localised.

Firstly access tracks would be built through the site (likely made of crushed stone, which would be left to grass over with time), after which the supporting frames are pushed into the ground. The solar panels themselves would then be bolted on to the frames, connected up by underground wiring and the site then secured with deer fencing.

Firstly access tracks would be built through the site (likely made of crushed stone, which would be left to grass over with time), after which the supporting frames are pushed into the ground. The solar panels themselves would then be bolted on to the frames, connected up by underground wiring and the site then secured with deer fencing.

There has been some media attention about the development of solar panels in certain countries, however more and more panels are now being manufactured in countries like Germany, America and Canada. A commercial decision would be made as to the source of the panels for the Sunny Oaks Renewable Energy Park if planning permission is granted. Ridge Clean Energy is not tied to any particular manufacturer.

Agricultural land/Land Use

The UK needs to not only decarbonise its energy mix, but also boost its domestic energy security which means developments like the Sunny Oaks Renewable Energy Park are really important.

The Proposed Development would not remove land currently used to produce crops for human consumption. In fact, it would diversify and secure the future of a strategically important Island dairy farm.

At the end of the operational period, the landowner would be free to farm the land once again, on better agricultural land with a higher organic carbon content having secured the diversification of their farming practice for generations to come.

Land between and under the panels would be sown with a wildflower seed mix and left fallow to become a biodiverse rich habitat which would increase in organic carbon content over the lifetime of the project.

The quality of agricultural land in the UK ranges from 1 (being the best) to 5 (being the worst). Land at the Sunny Oaks Renewable Energy Park is ‘Grade 3B’ which is not classified as ‘best and most versatile’.

The operational site is very likely trafficked with occasional maintenance by light road vehicles and therefore land is not compacted.

The site was identified for potential by the Ridge Clean Energy team due to its proximity to the existing Wootton substation, giving us access to (currently) the remaining Island Local Distribution Network capacity.

Operational Period

The solar panels would range from 90cm at their lowest point, to up to 3m at their highest point.

Placing a backstop date on any permission allows the Isle of Wight Council to maintain control over any non-agricultural use of the land. In addition, technology in general could look very different in 35-40 years time, so it’s only right that the land isn’t left for solar generation in perpetuity.

If planning consent is granted, it would be accompanied by a set of planning conditions one of which would stipulate that the development must be decommissioned. After this time, the landowner would be free to return the land to agricultural use. If anything else were to happen to the land, it would require a new planning permission at that point in time.

Solar panels are robust and would generally last for the operational period of the development. The battery units would likely be replaced every decade.

One of the planning conditions accompanying any planning permission would likely set the dimensions and overall heights of the development. If new technology becomes available during the operational period, and it fits within the stipulated dimensions from the initial planning permission, yes we could consider using the new technology if it would improve the amount of electricity generation on the site and be cost effective to do so.

One of Ridge Clean Energy’s main owners also owns one of the largest privately held companies in the US, with an annual turnover of more than $2 Billion. Ridge, therefore, has access to more than enough funding required to develop the project. Additionally, the project will be held in a separate special purpose vehicle. However unlikely, if something did happen to Ridge, the project would be a valuable asset that, once built, would continue to generate and sell electricity and therefore, would be financially viable. Operation of the project would comply with the planning conditions, for example, relating to the environmental management and decommissioning of the site.

The electricity generated by the Sunny Oaks Renewable Energy Park would feed directly into the local electricity distribution network. There may be times when this electricity is distributed to the local area, or it may be used more widely. However, there would not be a direct connection from the site to the local community.

Battery Storage

The battery storage containers are sealed units with appropriate prevention measures in place to prevent, and if necessary contain, any leaks. They would also be placed on hardstandings to act as another barrier to reduce the possibility of any leakages.

The battery units are charged when the solar park is producing more electricity than it is allowed to export; this energy is then released to the local electrical distribution network during times of high demand to smooth the output from the solar development. The batteries can also import electricity from the local electrical distribution network when there is excess electricity, again releasing it during times of high demand.

The batteries proposed at the Sunny Oaks Renewable Energy Park would likely be lithium ion batteries.

Yes, this is a common practice which assists in smoothing the output from the solar park as well as the electricity grid. Battery storage projects are now common developments in their own right. They can also provide services such as frequency and voltage control, which is useful for the grid.


More than 90% of each solar panel can be recycled, returning the valuable component parts back into the circular economy.


No – solar panels work really well with local ecology. The stock fencing has a gap which allows small mammals to enter the site, which becomes a secure wildlife haven. We are proposing to enhance the Sunny Oaks Renewable Energy Park to result in a net gain in biodiversity by sowing wildflower mix (chosen specifically to compliment the local ecology) between the panels as well as enhancing and planting new hedgerows and trees. The Proposed Development, and the landscape and ecological enhancement work is being designed by our Island based landscape architect and ecologist.

The site operator would be responsible for the management and maintenance of these areas, rather than the local community.

The Sunny Oaks Renewable Energy Park would not remove or reduce flood water storage capacity in the area. Additionally, whilst solar panels themselves are impermeable, rain water is free to drop through the panels within each array onto the ground beneath. Land within the site would be enhanced with new and improved hedge and tree planting, as well as a wildflower seed mix. Therefore, there would be more vegetation to intercept surface water flow than current exists.

The operational site is very lightly trafficked with occasional maintenance by light road vehicles and therefore land is not compacted.

Solar panels themselves do not generate noise. The inverters and battery ventilation fans can produce sound, however we are seeking to design the scheme to reduce impacts. We have submitted a noise assessment as part of our application for planning permission.

The enhancement proposals for the scheme include new and enhanced native planting along the southern and eastern boundaries of the site, as well as within the site itself. However, this planting would take some time to mature as a visual screen. Therefore, we are proposing to temporarily plant 2m tall Laurel hedging along the southern and eastern boundaries of the scheme to act as a visual screen during the construction and early operational phases. Overtime, as the new and existing native planting matures, the non-native Laurel hedge would be managed back and, if necessary, removed.

Whilst it is accepted Laurels are not native, they have been chosen for their excellent visual screening qualities.

A solar farm will pay back its ‘carbon debt’ within anywhere between 2 and 6 years (depending on the site). The lifetime of the Sunny Oaks Renewable Energy Park is proposed to be 40 years.


We wrote to registered addresses within 1km of our Indicative Application Boundary, amounting to 564 letters which were posted to arrive in mid-April 2022.

In advance of the exhibitions, we were made aware that some properties along Park Road had not received the invitation, despite them having been on our mailing list. Accordingly, we hand delivered additional exhibition invitations to properties along Whiterails Road and those facing the site along Park Road.

We submitted our planning application in early October 2022. At this time we wrote to residents in the local community to inform them of the changes made to the application since our public exhibitions. We also advertised the submission in Island media.

Please note that any comments sent via the channels outlined above do not constitute a formal representation to the Local Planning Authority. Formal representations can now be submitted to the Isle of Wight Council by visiting here and searching for application reference 22/01585/FUL.


Providing comments or requesting a call back from a member of the project team using the forms below.


Email us a comment or enquiry via the following email address


Or write to: Ridge Clean Energy, Noah's Ark, Market Street, Charlbury, OX7 3PL.

  Get In Touch