Leics County Council to submit plan for 25-hectare solar farm

Leicestershire County Council is to submit a planning application for a 25-hectare solar farm and up to 7,000 square metres of industrial space on a site it owns near Loughborough.

Farmland near the application site (pic: Kate Jewell, Geograph)
Farmland near the application site (pic: Kate Jewell, Geograph)

The council wants to build the solar farm on land bordered by the River Soar near the village of Quorn.

The proposal also includes two sets of industrial units on neighbouring sites, which the council says would be constructed to a carbon-neutral standard, incorporating solar roof panels, low energy LED lighting, rainwater harvesting and electric vehicle charging points.

The first 4,200 square metre phase of employment space would be split up into nine units.

The council is also intending to build a second phase of 2,800 square metres of industrial/office space, subject to sufficient demand.

The council’s cabinet agreed last week to fund the £14 million construction cost of the scheme's first phase.

In a report submitted to the cabinet, the council said the 10MW power farm would provide enough electricity to supply around 2,500 homes or just under half of the energy used by the authority's own buildings and street lighting.

The scheme would also support the authority's ambitions to be carbon neutral by 2030, the report said. The council unanimously declared a climate emergency in May.

The document estimates that the county council would receive an average annual return over a five-year period of £834,000 through letting the commercial units and the sale of electricity from the solar farm.

The council said it intends to submit a planning application for the scheme to itself next month. 

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