Cornwall Council is set to become the first local authority in the UK to begin construction of its own solar farm in the UK. The council has green lit plans for a 5MW solar park in Kernow, near Newquay Airport.

The council had previously had to scrap its large-scale plans after the feed-in tariff rates for large-scale solar were dramatically slashed by the Department of Energy and Climate Change. Cornwall Council decided to redirect the funds set aside for the solar park into its rootop solar project – which has seen 1.6MW of solar capacity installed across the county on all eligible council-owned properties.

Speaking to This is The West Country, Local Cornwall Councillor, John Fitter commented: “The plan is for the solar park to supply power to the national grid, but also directly to the Council-owned Newquay Airport. This will help to reduce the Airport’s carbon footprint and save money.”

It is expected that the solar park will generate an income of around £70,000 for the council. The solar park will also make a significant contribution to slashing the council’s carbon footprint, which has already been reduced by around 800 tonnes of CO2  a year, from the solar rooftop scheme.

Julian German, the Council’s portfolio holder for Localism, Sustainability and Devolution, added: “Kernow Solar Park is a tangible demonstration of the Council’s tenacity and leadership. We are leading the way with our own development, showing full commitment to our Green Cornwall Strategy. This single project will generate renewable electricity equivalent to almost 5 percent of the Council’s carbon footprint.”

Newquay Cornwall Airport MD, Al Titterington, concluded: “The power supplied from the solar farm will greatly assist the Airport’s aspiration to make our operations carbon neutral, helping us to become one of the UK’s greenest airports. We are current working towards certification through the Airports Council International (ACI) Carbon Accreditation Scheme and being able to source our electricity directly from the solar farm will dramatically reduce our emissions.”