Plans for a 5MW solar park on the former Gedling Colliery site in Nottingham have been approved by the local council.

The proposal submitted by solar developer, Re-Fin solar, will see round 23,000 solar modules installed across the 14-hectare site. The developer estimates that the solar farm will generate enough electricity to power 1,000 local homes every year.

However, local environmental groups have expressed concerns over the siting of the solar farm. The site has been unused since the colliery was closed in 1991 and has reportedly become a haven for local wildlife. As part of the planning permission, Re-Fin Solar has committed to installing nestboxes and mounds to enhance the ecological habitat of the area.

Commenting on the solar farm, councillor John Clarke, leader of Gedling Borough Council, said: “The solar farm will provide long-term renewable and sustainable energy for our residents. This, in addition to the recent announcement of plans for the Country Park, shows our commitment to reducing our carbon footprint and providing a solid sustainability plan for future generations.”

The news follows the recent publication of the Solar Trade Association’s 10 Commitments for solar farm developers. One of the key commitments was to encourage land diversification by including biodiversity measures, such as the ones included in Re-Fin Solar's proposal.

The Gedling solar farm is expected to be energised by 2014.