Banks Renewables eyes 50MW solar and storage site in Sheffield

Banks Renewables owns and operates onshore wind, and is expanding into large-scale solar. Image: Banks Renewables.

Banks Renewables is eyeing the development of a 50MW solar and storage development east of Sheffield.

The company is currently putting together the planning application for the Common Farm project, which would sit on 116-hectare of agricultural land to the west of the Todwick Road Industrial Estate in Dinnington and three miles east of Banks’ Penny Hill wind farm.

It would include up to 50MW of solar and a 50MW battery energy storage system, which would be linked directly into the Thurcroft electricity substation, around three kilometres north of the site.

“As more sources of renewable energy are connected to the system, more innovative ways of storing the electricity they produce will be required,” said Jill Askew, solar and flex project manager at Banks Renewables.

“The battery energy storage system at Common Farm would help to ensure reliable, stable and balanced electricity grid operation at times of peak demand and would support the UK’s continuing drive towards its net zero ambitions.”

The development of Common Farm will include the creation of a £50,000 community benefit fund, equating to more than £2,000,000 over the lifetime of the project.

Banks Renewables is currently developing a detailed ecology and biodiversity strategy, and will submit its planning application to Rotherham Council in the coming months with the view of gaining a determination by the end of the year.

“Maximising the production of renewable energy from domestic sources is a crucial part of the UK’s ongoing journey towards its net zero targets, especially within the current energy security climate, and the Common Farm solar scheme will further extend the contribution that we’re able to make locally towards reaching these goals,” Lewis Stokes, senior community relations manager at The Banks Group, said.

“The project is located in an area that we know very well, and having conducted a detailed search, we identified this site as providing the best opportunity to create a solar park that links directly into the Thurcroft substation.”

Banks Renewables currently owns and operates 11 onshore wind projects in England and Scotland, including four in Yorkshire such as the Penny Hill site.

As well as Common Farm, it is also looking to develop the 40MW Barnsdale solar energy park, which was recommended for approval by Leeds City Council’s planning officers in June 2021.

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