Renewable energy developer, West Cost Energy has received approval from Tunbridge Wells Borough Council for its first solar farm.

Capel Grange Solar Park will have a capacity of 6.6MW and is to be based near Paddock Wood in Kent, with local communities set to profit from a community benefit fund paid for by the company.

West Coast Energy will contribute £1,000 per MWp each year it operates, equating to an estimated £165,000 over the course of its 25-year life span.

The fund will be locally administered by an appointed trust who will identify social, educational and environmental projects to donate to, including anti-fuel poverty drives and new public facilities.

Matt Hayes, head of planning and project management at West Coast Energy, said the farm is an “important step” in diversifying the developer’s energy portfolio.

“We are delighted that Tunbridge Wells Borough Council Planning Committee have agreed with the planning officer’s recommendation and have voted in favour to the grant of planning permission for Capel Grange Solar Park,” Hayes said.

West Coast has said it expects construction to start later this year.