Local authority: Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council
Location: Situated on land between the village of Ulley and the M1 (between junctions 31 and 32) within the existing Penny Hill wind farm boundary
Postcode of nearby property: S26 3YF
Electricity generating capacity: Up to 5MW
Panel height: Up to 3m
Land used by solar panels: c6 hectares (c15 acres)
Current land use: Agriculture
Lifespan: 23 years in operation (in line with Penny Hill Wind Farm lifspan)
Decommissioning: All infrastructure will be removed with the site returned to farming land
Grid connection: No new grid infrastructure will be required as the solar farm will utilise the existing substation used at the Penny Hill wind farm
Delivery route: There will be no HGV movements through Ulley during the construction of the solar farm
Footpaths / bridleways: No closures or diversions
Community Fund: Additional £1,000/MW equating to £5,000 per year for the full life of the project
Maximising the existing infrastructure: The existing Penny Hill Wind Farm access tracks will be used to reach the solar farm. No new grid infrastructure will be required as the solar farm will use the existing wind farm substation
Background: Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council’s Planning Committee unanimously supported the proposals and planning permission was granted in November 2015. We are currently exploring what options are now available for construction of the project to commence. Banks Renewables is the company behind the Penny Hill Wind Farm and we’re passionate about creating green energy and believe a solar farm on land next to the wind farm will generate even more green electricity and deliver more benefits for the community
Solar farms offer a fantastic opportunity to enhance biodiversity and help address the decline in UK farmland species. Once installed solar farms are largely undisturbed during their lifetime, creating a safe haven where habitats and species can flourish. New wildflower meadows and hedgerow improvements will support local wildlife including pollinating insects, small mammals, bats and birds. Penny Hill Solar Farm will add to the habitat improvements already delivered by the wind farm to further benefit the area and leave a positive legacy for farmers and the environment.
The site will be well hidden in the landscape by existing hedgerows and rolling land. Our proposals include strengthening the vegetation with native planting. Existing hedgerows and trees in and around the site will be retained and managed as part of these proposals.
The area under the solar panels will be seeded with a wildflower meadow mix benefiting insects and birds. Wildlife margins have also been included in the design to benefit further local species. The specific enhancements will be decided using the results of our ecological surveys as well as local input and ideas.
Benefiting your community
Penny Hill Wind Farm has already delivered over £40,000 to community projects in and around your local area. If the Penny Hill Solar Farm was approved, it would provide more funding for projects that could make a difference in your community.
How could your community make the most of your benefits package?
A liaison committee, set up for the Penny Hill Wind Farm Community Fund, has been working with local residents and local councillors to ensure funds are being allocated to projects which will make a lasting positive impact in your community. If the Penny Hill Solar Farm was approved it would mean an additional contribution of £5,000 per annum (up to £115,000 over the lifetime of the project) would be added to the existing Penny Hill Wind Farm Community Fund.
Initiatives could include:
• Supporting community, sporting and voluntary groups who provide services to various sectors of the local community
• Energy efficiency improvements to local community buildings
• Wildlife and habitat enhancements
Benefits available to you right now
The Banks Community Fund supports community projects across the country with grants towards capital projects. Contact us using the details on the contact page for an application form or more information.
Before applying for a grant
Applicants MUST contact Sarah McIntyre, Fund Manager at the CDCF, before applying for a grant. Tel 0191 378 6342 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
APPLY HERE: Grant applications have to be made on line via the County Durham Community Foundation (CDCF) website.