Huge solar farm could power 12,000 homes

Up to 12,000 homes could be powered by huge a new solar farm that is being proposed on land between Kippax and Allerton Bywater.

The solar farm will generate huge amounts of power.
The solar farm will generate huge amounts of power.

Renewable energy firm Banks Renewables is developing a planning application for the energy park just east of Brigshaw High School which could cover more than 50 hectares or agricultural land.

If approved, the energy harnessed from the solar panels would feed directly in to the nearby Ledston electricity sub-station on Barnsdale Road, situated just east of the proposed site.

A leaflet containing comprehensive information on the project is being delivered to around 2,900 local homes this week, while a dedicated project website has also been set up to ensure information on the scheme is easily available.

Youngsters visiting Hook Moor wind farm when it opened in 2016.

The south-facing agricultural land proposed is around three miles from the nearby five-turbine Hook Moor wind farm just south of Lotherton, which Banks Renewables owns and operates.

It also has wind farms near Doncaster and Rotherham.

Lewis Stokes, community relations manager at The Banks Group, says: “The UK has set itself ambitious targets for renewable energy generation which require new infrastructure and generating facilities to be developed in appropriate locations.

“The project is located in an area that we know very well, and having conducted a detailed search, this site was identified as providing the best opportunity to create a solar park that links directly into the adjacent electricity substation.

“We will look to work closely with local parish councils and other community representatives to ensure we develop a comprehensive and detailed planning application, with particular reference to the planned ecological and biodiversity enhancements meeting specific local priorities.”

As part of the deal, the company has said around £25,000 of the revenues generated by the scheme would be directed every year into a benefits fund that would provide funding for local charities, community groups and good causes.

They say a detailed ecology and biodiversity strategy is also being developed to ensure the site delivers support for and enhances the Leeds Habitat Network along the Sheffield Beck which runs through the site.

Mr Stokes added: “The benefits fund will also extend the contribution we’ve made to enhancing local communities in recent years and we hope that the council’s planning committee will support the vision we’re developing for this important project.”

Banks Renewables is expecting to submit a planning application to Leeds City Council before the end of the year, with a view to it being determined in the first quarter of 2021.

In Numbers:

* The 50 hectare solar farm would have south-facing panels with a capacity of 40mw, reaching a height of 3.5 metres from the ground

* Powering up to 12,000 family homes, it would also displace over 9,400 tonnes of carbon dioxide from the electricity supply network each year.

* If approved it would take nine months to complete and would be in operation for approximately 40 years.

* By comparison, the existing Hook Moor Wind Farm generated around 25,350 MWh of green electricity in the last year, enough to power more than 7,500 homes.