Monmouthshire is a step closer to running its own solar farm on council-owned land after the Welsh Government approved a £4.5m repayable investment.
Once completed, the Oak Grove Solar Farm in Crick could generate enough electricity to power around 1,400 homes. It will also save over 2,000 tonnes per year of CO2e by generating clean, renewable energy.
The £4.5m funding has been awarded to Monmouthshire County Council through the Welsh Government’s Invest to Save Green Growth Fund which aims to support public services to become more energy efficient and invest in green technologies. The scheme has also benefited from help from Local Partnerships, who are public sector owned delivery experts, funded by Welsh Government for this initiative.
Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths said: “Wales has huge potential develop projects which generate electricity for the benefit of Wales. Through our Green Growth Wales initiative, we are supporting the development of public sector energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. I am delighted we have been able to support the delivery of the project and also provide finance to support Monmouthshire’s ambitions to run its own solar farm. This project has huge potential and I would like to see more local authorities developing renewable energy projects”
Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Mark Drakeford added: “I’m very pleased to see the fund has played such an important part in bringing the project to this stage. Once completed, I hope the solar farm becomes a model of sustainability and encourages other local authorities to follow suit.”
Councillor Phil Hobson, Monmouthshire County Council’s cabinet member for sustainability said: “The solar farm means Monmouthshire takes another big step towards its goal of being a sustainable, green-power county. We’ve managed to use the same land to construct a solar power station while keeping access for grazing animals. We’ve balanced the need for clean home-produced energy and food production at the same time.“
Councillor Phil Murphy, cabinet member with responsibility for estates added: “This scheme represents a significant move by the council in diversifying, not only to improve our environment but also to find alternative ways of supporting front-line services.”
Jane Forshaw of Local Partnerships said: “We are delighted that through the Welsh Government’s Green Growth initiative we have been able to support Monmouthshire County Council in accelerating delivery of this brilliant renewables project. This is a truly pioneering achievement for the public sector, which also has significant scale and will earn welcome income for the council.”
Most of the panels have been installed and electricity generated from the solar farm is due to be fed into the National Grid at the end of this month.