Oldham Councils launches tender for new 1MW solar farm. Image: Oldham Council

Oldham Council has invited businesses to tender a £1.2 million contract to deliver and maintain a new solar farm in the area.

The site, located at Wrigley Head, Failsworth, is the council’s first solar farm and is a key project in its Green New Deal –  Oldham Council’s strategy to make buildings carbon neutral by 2025, followed by the whole borough by 2030.

The council launched a tender process, inviting interested businesses to design, build, operate and maintain the 1MW site for 20 years.

Construction on the farm is expected to start in September, meaning the council requires a contractor who can review the outline design for the ground-mounted solar photovoltaic (PV) array and improve upon it, taking into account developments in new technology.

The new design will need to be agreed upon by the council, planning authority, and any other key stakeholders.

The solar farm opportunity comes as Oldham Council secured £8.7 million in grant funding to support our plans to create a low-carbon district heat network for Oldham Town Centre.

Councillor Abdul Jabbar, cabinet member for finance and corporate resources, called this tender an “exciting opportunity”.

Jabbar added: “It will transform the land, which was previously a derelict site, giving it a new sustainable purpose which will boost the environment and biodiversity. It will also reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, giving the council cheaper energy bills that stay low – unlike gas prices, meaning we have more money to spend on front-line services.

“We were the first council in the UK to adopt a Green New Deal, and we are aiming to be the greenest borough in Greater Manchester.”

Green Oldham

Oldham Council has actively welcomed renewable energy projects since net zero goals were set nationwide, meaning this solar farm is not the borough’s first site.

Renewables developer Field confirmed that its 20MW battery energy storage site in Oldham became the first in its portfolio to be fully operational in December 2022.

The battery storage developer, formerly known as Virmati Energy, stated that the site had started storing energy and was now supplying energy to the national grid.

Oldham Council also partnered with TRAILER in March 2022 to trial-fitting solar panels onto vehicles so as to charge the batteries while the vehicles are working.

Over the following year, the council fitted solar panels on 14 of its vehicles, with these being seven bin wagons and seven other trucks used for various duties, including the delivery of new bins to residents.