Wiltshire Council has approved Eden Renewables’ 49.9MW Forest Gate solar farm, which includes collocated battery energy storage.
The council approved the site by a majority vote of six to three.
Forest Gate solar farm will be built on a site next to the A4 in Wiltshire, east of Chippenham, and connected to the Chippenham sub-station, where it has already secured a grid connection.
“We are pleased that Forest Gate solar farm has been approved – the project has been well supported both in the local community and across Wiltshire,” said Ross Wolhuter, development manager, Eden Renewables.
“The land is hard to farm productively and we will be maximising its use with sheep grazing and strong ecological improvements alongside clean energy generation. We’re also really excited about working with Zero North Wiltshire and Bath and West Community Energy to enable the local community to share ownership of the solar farm, which should create substantial additional funds for the benefit of local people on top of Eden’s contribution to community and educational initiatives.”
The development of the site will include the creation of a new 30m wide belt of woodland for screening and biodiversity, as well as other ecological enhancements such as developing a diverse grassland, wildflower areas and new ponds.
Forest Gate includes the creation of a new community benefit fund of £20,000 per year, that will help fund a new circular footpath around the site as well as an education programme.
Additionally, the project will include 20% community ownership, with Eden Renewables working together with community benefit society Zero North Wiltshire and Bath and West Community Energy on the site.
This could generate over £5 million that can be recycled back into the local area over the project’s 40-year lifespan, the company said, making it the first subsidy-free shared ownership solar farm in Wiltshire.
Last year, Eden Renewables’ Wolhuter contributed an article Solar Power Portal exploring the need to balance both energy and food security.
Solar Power Portal’s publisher Solar Media will host the UK Solar Summit on 27-28 June 2023 in London. The event will explore UK’s new landscape for utility and rooftop solar, looking at the opportunities within a GW+ annual market, and much more. For more information, go to the website.