Telford News

Solar Farm Plans get Public Airing

Telford & Wrekin Council is to hold a public exhibition as a part of the formal consultation for plans to build a publicly funded solar farm in the borough.

Plans and additional information will go on display at Queensway Hadley Learning Community next Wednesday (15 January) ahead of the submission of a planning application.

The Council’s Cabinet agreed proposals to put forward plans for a commercial scale solar farm to be built on land at Wheat Leasows1364625_73910614 (Medium) as a part of its strategy to find new ways of bringing income in that can help to protect the frontline services that the Council provides.

The Council has made a commitment to move towards a more sustainable financial position to help offset government cuts.

With a projected profit of £5m over 25 years, the farm won’t make much of an indent into the £22m of budget cuts proposed.  The projected income is also reliant on feed in tariffs being around for the full 25 years too.  A high risk assumption as stated on the FITarrifs website: ‘We used to publish helpful tables on historical and expected future tariff levels, but the government has made so many changes to the banding, degression intervals etc. that it’s just too time consuming.”

The Council is proposing to borrow £6m to develop the Solar Farm which would be made up of more than 20,000 panels on a site of 12.2 hectares and would generate enough electricity to power more than 1,000 homes.

The solar farm would form a part of the Council’s wider energy strategy to aid a reduction in its carbon footprint which includes improving energy efficiency and energy generation in Council buildings.

Councillor Shaun Davies, Telford & Wrekin’s cabinet member with responsibility for Commercial Strategy & Economic Projects, said: “We hope that as many local people as possible will be able to attend the exhibition to see the plans for the solar farm and to offer feedback on this.

“This project demonstrates our commitment to show community leadership and to be a greener council.

“We hope that these proposals will help to secure funding for future services but will also help to secure local energy.”

If approved by planning, the solar farm could be installed as early as summer 2014.

The public exhibition will take place from 4.30-8.30pm and is open to anyone who wants to attend. No booking is required. Anyone who cannot attend will be able to view the information and plans from 16-19 January 2014 on the Council’s website:

7 thoughts on “Solar Farm Plans get Public Airing

  • Surely this is a stupid idea

  • financially it may be a risk but at least they are thinking about eco energy and there are worse things our money could be and is spent on. I would have liked to see the council buildings have solar energy where it was possible to generate enough to offset usage

  • This is an outrageous waste of public money. The solar subsidy has been cut several times and will be cut again in the near future. Solar panels don’t make money, operators need taxpayers’ money to make a profit. This £5m “profit” is pie in the sky anyway but any money they do make (if they make any at all) is coming out of our pockets. Even the money they propose to borrow to build the solar farm is coming out of our pockets – the Public Infrastructure Loans Board is taxpayer funded. The council can’t manage to run a pop concert without losing money, how do they propose to operate a solar farm with zero experience and a track record of utter incompetence with any commercial venture?

  • Just had a look at the 2012/2013 councillors’ allowances and the £200k a year pie in the sky figure they initially came up with wouldn’t even cover 4 months of councillors’ allowances and expenses. That was before the solar subsidy was cut so it’ll be even less now!

  • The article’s comment on the FIT being a high risk proposition are somewhat misleading. Yes, the government did make drastic changes to the FIT levels in 2012 but those and subsequent changes are for NEW installations after a set date; once the system is registered any future FIT regression (the planned reduction over time) has NO impact upon the project’s 20 year index linked income. Don’t forget that the income is not just from a FIT (which may not actually be the mechanism being used as there is another; I couldn’t find a reference to which one is planned) but the power generated is sold commercially.
    Note that the vast majority of large solar farms are built by hard-nosed commercial enterprises who consider all such risks and are on record as considering them relatively low risk. I expect that, as is common with such farms, a services company that specialises in such work will be engaged for the operation and maintenance.
    I applaud this development as a step in the right direction.

  • Really glad to see a public body putting some weight behind renewables. If only the national government had the will to do this.

  • Pingback: Wheat Leasowes Solar Farm Public Exhibition | UKIP Telford & Wrekin

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