Works to start on new solar farm site in Barrow

Works to build a new solar farm site on council-owned land at Sandscale Park in Barrow are set to start over next few weeks.

Westmorland and Furness Council approved plans to fund and construct a 2MW solar farm site at a meeting of Cabinet in September 2023.

Works to upgrade access to the site have already been undertaken and this next stage of the project will see main works begin including the installation of the panels and mounting structure and laying of electrical cables.

The solar farm will generate green electricity which will be used to inset the council’s carbon emissions in line with its carbon management objectives which form part of the council’s Carbon Management Strategy and Climate Action Plans.

The site will bring about reductions in carbon for the council and is expected to result in savings of around 507 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per annum. This is equivalent to providing enough electricity to power the council’s five leisure centres or approximately 730 homes per year, based upon average UK households.

In light of rising global energy prices, the solar farm will contribute to the council’s income generation, mitigate energy costs, and boost the council’s energy sovereignty, independence and security.

Climate change remains one of the greatest challenges to this generation, and for many generations to come. It is one of the greatest threats to biodiversity and humanity globally, with the devastating impacts of it already seen and experienced in Westmorland and Furness with extreme weather events such as Storm Desmond in 2015.

Part of this development includes allowance for 10% Biodiversity Net Gain, supported by a Biodiversity Enhancement Plan which will see the council implement proposals to increase opportunities for pollinators, enhancements to woodland, hedgerows and bird and bat nesting habitats.

The project will be delivered by contractors Vital Energi and is expected to complete in the autumn.

Westmorland and Furness Council Assistant Director for Corporate Assets, Fleet and Capital Programme, Allan Harty, said:

“This is a significant milestone for the council and a sign of our commitment to tackling climate change and delivering against our Net Zero target for carbon emissions. It is an example of us using our assets in an innovative way to meet a serious challenge. The rise in energy costs is affecting us all, and by creating this site we’ll be able to generate our own energy and ensure security for the future, which can only be a positive thing.”

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