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18 February 2015

Legacy Solar Farm All Set For The Off

Work has now commenced on the construction of the Legacy Solar Farm on Council-owned land adjacent to Berthengron Farm, Rhosllanurchrugog in Wrexham.

This £2.5million project - some 15 football pitches in size - will contain in the region of 8,800, 300-watt panels, and generate enough electricity to power approximately 700 homes for a year! It will also reduce the carbon footprint of otherwise using fossil fuel by 1,300 tonnes of CO2 a year – the equivalent to flying from Cardiff to Cork 9,100 times or travelling 32½million miles by train during the life of the project. The design of the solar farm, with its wide gaps between the solar modules, will leave 70% of the land available for the landowner to continue grazing their sheep.

In what is the first scheme British Gas have undertaken for Wrexham Council on photovoltaic technology, the company is the principal contractor and is responsible for building, commissioning and maintaining the site. British Gas have also completed all the designs, are responsible for ordering the materials and arranging the scheme’s installation by their approved sub-contractors.

Legacy Solar Farm went through a challenging planning procedure before approval was granted by Local Planning Authority. The site holds some challenges ahead, with both buried and overhead cables, streams and drainage ditches all having to be taken into account. The expected completion of the scheme is June 2015.

Solar farm installations, aside from looking better and having a much lower environmental impact than other forms of power generation, also can allow for animals to graze peacefully between the rows of light trapping modules. There is no waste or by-products, no moving parts, no noise, no pollution and only minimal maintenance is required.

The UK needs to utilise solar power to meet the EU 2020 target of 15% of energy production from renewable energy sources. The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) also sees solar power contributing up to 20 gigawatts (GW) of generating capacity to the UK by that time if costs continue to fall as they are currently doing.

However, the end result of this particular installation will not only reduce the reliance on fossil fuels, but also offers potential for the generation of local green jobs.

Councillor Neil Rogers, Lead Member for Economic Development and Regeneration, said:

“The improvement in solar technology coupled with ever decreasing costs means that this very green form of energy is now becoming a more cost-effective one.

“Wrexham CBC is the first Welsh Local Authority and only the third in the UK to own and operate a solar farm. The electricity produced will be fed into the National Grid and consequently generate an income for the council.”