Onshore wind developer Banks Group has submitted formal plans to develop a 5MW solar array at the site of its Penny Hill wind farm two months after first revealing it was to move into solar.

The north east firm announced in June that it was to move into the solar energy market against the backdrop of Conservative Party plans to cut all subsidy support for onshore wind.

Since then the Department for Energy and Climate Change has revealed proposals extended this ban to all ground-mounted solar farms, but this has not deterred Banks Renewables which submitted plans to Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council this week.

Lewis Stokes, development relation coordinator at Banks Renewables, said the plans had received overwhelming support from local residents.

“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,” he said.

A community benefit fund has already been established as part of the group’s operational onshore wind farm however if the solar farm goes ahead, the fund would be increased by a further £5,000 annually to take it past the £25,000 mark.