Solar energy scheme proposed for Banks Renewables’ Penny Hill wind farm site

June 11, 2015 | Community News

To support this project that will bring clean, green, solar energy to this area, near Ulley Village, to the south east of Rotherham, as well as additional precious community funds, please go to: http://www.banksgroup.co.uk/penny-hill-solar/support-this-project/

Plans for a new solar energy project on the site of a South Yorkshire wind farm are set to go on show for the first time.

Renewable energy firm Banks Renewables is looking to install a 5MW solar photo voltaic (PV) scheme in the South East corner of its Penny Hill wind farm site, which sits to the South East of Rotherham and west of the junction of the M1 and M18.

And if the project goes ahead, the existing community benefits fund linked to the Penny Hill wind farm, which is currently worth around £20,400 every year, would be increased by a further £5,000 annually, thus enabling Banks Renewables to deliver even more community and environmental improvements in partnership with local people.

Local people will be able to get their first look at the proposals at an exhibition being held between 3pm and 7pm on Thursday 25th June in Ulley Village Hall.

The part of the site on which the solar scheme would be located has been chosen as it is the furthest away from the village of Ulley, and its layout would mean that the scheme would not be visible from most of that village or from the nearby village of Brampton.

The proposed location has also been assessed as being the most ecologically suitable part of the Penny Hill site for such a scheme, and if the project goes ahead, it would be managed in such a way as to encourage greater biodiversity, as well as support new and enhanced habitats for local flora and fauna.

Banks is designing the project to allow for its existing grid connection on the Penny Hill site to be used for the new scheme, and is also looking at using the existing access tracks to further minimise any impact on the local community.

The Penny Hill community benefits fund is ring-fenced for use within the parishes of Aston, Thurcroft, Treeton, Ulley and Whiston, and already has seen grants totalling over £40,000 made in support of organisations including The Friends Of Ulley Country Park, Swallownest Bowling Club, The Maelstrom Explorer Scouts, Ulley Sailing Club and The Ulley Millennium Trust.

Phil Dyke, development director at Banks Renewables, says: “The Penny Hill wind farm has been running well for the last two years, and the positive impact that the community funds generated by it is already being felt right across the area.

“The proposals we’re now putting forward would enable us to substantially increase the annual amount available for local community improvement projects, and would enable us to make an even greater positive difference to the area by supporting projects that local people want to see actioned.

“The part of the Penny Hill site that we’ve chosen for the solar PV scheme lends itself well to this sort of development, alongside having minimal visibility from surrounding communities, and we would implement a land management plan over the project’s 25 year lifespan that would encourage greater biodiversity and support the creation of enhanced habitats for local flora and fauna.

“We believe this is an excellent location for a scheme which would enable us to increase the amount of clean, green energy we produce at the Penny Hill site, and we hope as many people as possible will come along to our exhibition to find out more about what we’re proposing.

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