Plans submitted for largest publicly-owned solar farm in Wales
Rhiannon James, local democracy reporter
Caerphilly Council has submitted plans to develop the largest publicly-owned solar farm in Wales – but has not ruled out selling the project to another party.
Cwm Ifor solar farm, to be built near Penyrheol, is expected to cost between £12 million and £16 million. It is predicted to generate enough electricity to power 6,000 homes and have an operational lifespan of 35 years.
This is the first time the council has made moves to invest in the energy sector.
The council hopes the solar farm will support decarbonisation of the local electricity system, as well as provide an opportunity to generate an additional income.
The council’s cabinet gave the go-ahead for the 20 megawatt solar farm project in October last year. A planning application for it has now been lodged.
No decision has been made as to whether the council will develop the solar farm or sell the project on.
The land is privately-owned, therefore a lease agreement is to be made between the owner and the council. Construction is expected to begin in April 2024, if plans are approved.
There aren’t any documents uploaded to the council’s online planning portal yet, but it does say a decision on the planning application will be made by May 19 2023.
Development of National Significance
The project has been classified as a “development of national significance”- meaning the Welsh Government will make the final decision on the application.
The council has confirmed that it has submitted a Development of National Significance (DNS) application, which is specifically for large infrastructure projects.
Labour councillor Jamie Pritchard, the council’s deputy leader and cabinet member with responsibility for climate change, said: “In 2019, the council declared a climate emergency and has committed to being carbon neutral by 2030.
“The solar farm is a very exciting development and just one of a number of innovative initiatives planned by the council to reduce carbon emissions.
“I’d like to thank everyone involved in the project and particularly members of the local community who took the time to take part in consultation.”
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