West Berkshire Council announces plans for £10m solar farm

Image: Andreas Gücklhorn (Unsplash).

West Berkshire Council has announced plans for a new £10 million solar farm to help in its transition to carbon neutrality by 2030.

The farm could be built on land near Grazeley, the council stated, and consist of more than 45,000 solar panels installed over 75 acres of council-owned land.

According to the feasibility study, the solar farm could offset around 30% of the council’s carbon footprint, including the estimated footprint of contractors working on its behalf.

Funding for the project will be included in the capital strategy and submitted for council approval on 2 March 2021.

Councillor Steve Ardagh-Walter, executive member for the environment, said the council was looking to build on its success installing rooftop solar last year.

"It could significantly reduce our carbon footprint with any surplus income available to reinvest in other environmental projects. Our Environment Strategy is something we are absolutely committed to, and this new solar farm is a statement of our intent towards achieving a carbon neutral district by 2030," he continued.

Should the plans be approved, work is expected to start on the site in 2022.

The solar farm follows over £500,000 of investment by West Berkshire Council into solar panel installation in 2020, with panels installed on six buildings generating approaching 400,000KWh per year.

Councils around the UK are increasingly turning to solar to help them meet their decarbonisation targets, with Portsmouth winning out as the biggest council investor in solar according to a recent study.