A former open cast mining operation in Derbyshire has won planning permission to develop a 7.1MW solar farm on the site.

Property regeneration company, Harworth Estates has partnered with renewable developer, RES to submit the proposals to Chesterfield Borough Council. The council’s planning committee voted unanimously in favour of the solar farm which will sit across 19.4 hectares of reclaimed and restored agricultural land.  

Hannah Moxon, assistant management surveyor at Harworth’s Natural Resources division, said: “I’m delighted that the Planning Committee recognised the benefits of transforming this former colliery landholding into an asset of lasting value.”

Harworth recently completed a 500kW wind turbine on adjacent land in partnership with Energy Prospects Co-operative, Moxon continued: “Having solar development on the same site as the wind turbine is an excellent demonstration of the compatibility of these two renewable technologies.  We look forward to working with RES to get the scheme operational by the end of this year.”

Due to a high level of grid saturation RES told Solar Power Portal that it was actively looking at co-locating solar and wind to make maximum use of available grid capacity.  

The proposed solar farm will begin construction in summer 2015 and is expected to generate enough energy to supply 1,500 local homes every year it is operational. Harworth’s Natural Resources division also confirmed that it would be bringing forward two more solar schemes in 2015, one in Doncaster and one in Nottinghamshire. The move builds on a previous agreement between Harworth Estates and Anesco to develop 30MW of solar.