Three former colliery sites in Nottinghamshire will soon be transformed into solar farms capable of generating enough electricity to supply 10,000 local homes.

UK property regeneration company, Harworth Estates has partnered with renewable installer, Anesco to install a portfolio of 30MW on its former coal mines.

Construction has already begun on the first project in the portfolio, an 11.2MW solar farm at the Welbeck Colliery in Mansfield. Following its completion, work will begin on two 5.74MW projects at Gedling and Blisthorpe. A fourth site in Yorkshire is also planned, pending planning permission.

Eddie Peat, director of Natural Resources at Harworth Estates, commented that low-carbon energy projects formed “an important part of Harworth Estates’ commitment to the community and the environment”. Peat added that the solar farm project would not only bring clean energy to thousands of local homes but also new jobs for the region.

The government recently unveiled measures designed to curb the expansion of large-scale, ground-mounted solar farms in the UK with Greg Barker, minister for climate change, pledging to shift the focus toward commercial rooftop developments. Speaking to Solar Power Portal, Barker explained that the step away from ground mount solar is designed to “avoid solar becoming the new onshore wind from pushing too many insensitively placed sites…That is not to say that in the right place, large arrays can’t work, particularly Brownfield sites”.

Adrian Pike, CEO of Anesco explained that the announced 30MW solar portfolio is a perfect example of sensitively-sited solar. He said: “Through these installations we will not only be regenerating disused land but will be creating employment, generating renewable energy and helping to reduce the UK’s carbon emissions.

“Working with landowners to develop sites likes these former collieries fits perfectly with government policy, with the Department of Energy and Climate Change pushing the focus of growth in solar to be on brownfield sites and domestic and industrial roofs. These sites are based in the Midlands and north of England, which is important as we believe it is essential that solar developments are made across the UK and not just in the south west.”

Harworth Estates owns close to 200 former coal sites across the UK and plans to develop a range of low-carbon energy projects in addition to solar, including wind, hydro and anaerobic digestion.