Plans submitted for South Yorkshire solar energy project

August 11, 2015 | Penny Hill News

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Exciting plans for a new solar energy project on the site of a South Yorkshire wind farm have been submitted to Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council this week.

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.

Feedback from local people, wildlife groups and local parish councils has been positive about the proposals, which will increase the amount of clean, green energy produced at Penny Hill and the amount of community funds available to benefit local people.

The proposed location is sited away from the village of Ulley and its layout is designed so the scheme would not be visible from most of that village, or from the nearby village of Brampton.

The area has also been assessed as being the most ecologically suitable part of the Penny Hill site for such a scheme and 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.

Lewis Stokes, development relations coordinator at Banks Renewables, says: “We have held a number of consultation events and meetings in the community about the proposals, and the response has been fantastic. We know the benefits delivered as part of the Penny Hill wind farm have had a huge impact on projects locally and the solar farm brings an opportunity to do further work in the community. However we’re not only looking to create a positive effect within nearby communities, we will also encourage greater biodiversity and support the creation of enhanced habitats alongside increasing the amount of clean, green energy we produce at Penny Hill site working with the relevant bodies and local interest groups too.”

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 only the first two of 25 years supporting organisations including The Friends of Ulley Country Park, Swallownest Bowling Club, The Maelstrom Explorer Scouts, Ulley Sailing Club and The Ulley Millennium Trust.

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.  This would enable Banks Renewables to deliver even more community and environmental improvements in partnership with local people.

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. The whole project can be delivered fairly quickly with all components required for the solar farm delivered on an approved routs avoiding local villages and with minimal disruption to the local community.

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