Image: SEMLEP.

Work has started on a new solar farm on the site of a former landfill that is to form part of the Bedford Green Technology and Innovation Park.

In 2020, Bedford Borough Council was awarded more than £1.8 million for the Park, which is being constructed at Elstow in Bedfordshire, from the South East Midlands Enterprise Partnership (SEMLEP) Getting Building Fund.

Now the 30-hectare site is being capped with clay, following which work can begin to install 1,800 solar panels, which will provide clean electricity to the buildings onsite as well as local businesses. The site will have an estimated capacity of 4.5 – 5MWp, SEMLEP told Solar Power Portal.

Hilary Chipping, chief executive of SEMLEP, said it was “so exciting” to see the landfill site being transformed into “such an innovative energy park”.

“We look forward to the Park generating green, low carbon, clean energy in Bedfordshire, encouraging others to reduce carbon emissions, adopt innovative technologies and improve air quality.”

The completed Green Technology and Innovation Park will be used as an education and training centre, with support pledged by the University of Bedfordshire, Cranfield University and local colleges. Work on the site is expected to be completed in early 2022.

Mayor Dave Hodgson said: “This is a really exciting project, creating green energy at a former landfill and creating jobs right here in Bedford Borough.

“The Council has consistently worked to lead the way on tackling climate change, working to reduce our carbon emissions towards a target of being carbon neutral by 2030. This site will give more local businesses the option to use low carbon, clean energy.”