Green light for £6.8m solar photovoltaic farm in North Ayrshire

PLANS to build a £6.7 million solar photovoltaic (PV) farm in Nethermains has been approved by North Ayrshire Council.

The development will be built at a former landfill site owned by the local authority. The council said that the solar PV farm will provide a ‘substantial’ amount of clean, renewable energy to supply the local electricity grid.

The 7,681MWh p/a it produces is 34% of the council’s current energy requirements. The council added that, through a licensed electricity third-party-supplier, it could power their own facilities at a greatly reduced cost.

The total net income from the solar PV farm over a 20-year period is estimated by the council as £12.8 and it is anticipated – with approximately £2.27 million being allocated to community benefit projects.

Councillor Joe Cullinane, leader of North Ayrshire Council and cabinet member for community wealth building, said, “The climate emergency is an existential threat to our planet that requires urgent action to be taken, at all levels of government, across the globe to rapidly cut carbon emissions. Here in North Ayrshire we have a real chance to lead from the front and set the agenda.

“We’ve made our position clear and have set ourselves an ambitious target of having net-zero carbon emissions by 2030.

“Over the last few years we have cut our carbon emissions by 28% but now is the time to ramp up our actions and that’s why we created our £8.8million Investment Fund in last year’s budget, to support initiatives that meet our net-zero ambitions whilst also bringing new income streams to the Council to address the challenging budget position we face.

“The installation of a solar pv farm at Nethermains will make a positive environmental impact from an otherwise difficult to develop vacant site and will also contribute a number of positive educational and awareness raising opportunities within our communities on the importance of climate change.

“The farms give us the chance to reduce energy costs and increase revenue streams which we can pass on to our citizens and our communities. And it will also play a significant part in our ambitious net-zero carbon emissions target. We are delighted that we have now reached a stage where we are in a position to move forward to deliver the solar pv farm.”