49MW South Yorkshire solar and storage project gains councillor support. Image: Banks Group.

A 49M solar and storage project in South Yorkshire is one step closer to development with councillor Benjamin Whomersley supporting the planning application from independent renewable energy firm Banks Renewables.

The proposed Common farm Solar Energy Park will feature an installed capacity of up to 49MW of solar in addition to a 50MW battery energy storage facility. The project is proposed at a 116-hectare site to the west of the Todwick Road Industrial Estate in Dinnington.

As part of the company’s policy of delivering tangible benefits to the places in which its operations are based, the project would also deliver an annual package of community benefits totalling £50,000, or more than £2 million through its lifetime, to support local community projects.

Whomersley represents the Dinnington Ward at Rotherham Metropolitan Borough and believes that the long-term community improvements that could be secured through the benefits package via the project have led to local people taking a positive view of the scheme.

“I’m a strong advocate of maximising the use of renewable energy in meeting our current and future energy needs. This project would have a strong contribution to make in this respect, while also bringing jobs and investment to the local area, and the benefits package that is part of it could be used to meet a wide range of community improvement priorities for many years to come,” said Whomersley.

“Many of the local people that I’ve spoken to recognise the positive impact that this funding would have on their community and they’re aligned with it happening. The solar energy park couldn’t be in a better location in terms of being out of the way and I would very much hope to see these plans moving forward in the near future.”

For the project, a detailed ecology and biodiversity strategy will be conducted to ensure the site delivers a net benefit both these fields. The ground around and beneath the solar panels would be used to create a wildflower meadow.

A battery storage system would link directly into the Thurcroft electricity substation around 3km north of the site.

“We’re grateful to Councillor Whomersley for his support for this project and for recognising the different environmental, economic, social and energy security benefits that it could bring to his community,” said Lewis Stokes, senior community relations manager at The Banks Group.

“Since launching this project last summer, we’ve spent a lot of time speaking to local people and businesses about its different elements and the response we’ve had has been generally very encouraging.

“The Common Farm solar and battery scheme will extend the contribution we’re able to make locally towards reaching these goals and we’re excited at what can be achieved here.”

Solar Power Portal's publisher Solar Media will host the UK Solar Summit on 27-28 June 2023 in London. The event will explore UK’s new landscape for utility and rooftop solar, looking at the opportunities within a GW+ annual market, and much more. For more information, go to the website.