The renewable energy division of property developer Banks Group has announced it is to move into the solar energy market with its first 5MW solar farm.

The north east-headquartered firm has revealed it is to develop a 5MW solar array at the site of its Penny Hill wind farm in South Yorkshire having previously developed a total of seven onshore wind farms across northern England and Scotland.

Banks Renewables has also secured planning approval for additional onshore wind farms across the UK with a total capacity in excess of 190MW, however the company is to diversify into solar amid increasing doubt over the new Conservative government’s support of onshore wind.

The Tories are expected to defy the Scottish National Party’s hopes of a last-minute reprieve for onshore wind and cut all future subsidy support for the technology, specifics are expected to be revealed in the coming weeks.

Phil Dyke, development director at Banks Renewables said energy generation in the UK was facing “significant challenges” in the future with the firm currently investigating a number of other potential sites for solar projects.

“Using a mix of different energy generation technologies has to be the way forward, and having established a strong portfolio of onshore wind schemes, we’re now looking to extend Banks Renewables’ operations into the solar PV sector,” Dyke said.