Work to begin next week on 5.4MW solar farm

Work is to begin next week on the 5.4MW Chapel Farm solar park near Swindon after the developer tied down financing for the £5.4 million project.

The installation of 18,860 panels on a former landfill site by the village of Blunsdon is expected to take around ten weeks.

More than £2.4 million of funding was raised through a bond sale, which closed on 23 December after selling out over a month early. The bonds are the first solar investments to be eligible to be held tax-free in an Innovative Finance ISA following a recent change in government legislation. The remaining £3 million is being directly invested by Swindon Borough Council, which owns the developer Public Power Solutions.

The council is aiming to build 200MW of renewable capacity by the end of the decade – enough to meet the equivalent power requirements of every home in the borough. The completion of the Chapel Farm solar park will bring the total installed capacity to 167MW –  more than 80 per cent of the target.

PPS head of power solutions Steve Cains said: “Chapel Farm will give a new lease of life to an ex-landfill site: as a solar farm, a managed biodiversity hotspot, and as a place for sheep to graze for part of the year.”

He added: “The early closing of the bond offer was a great Christmas present for everyone involved – and now we’re looking forward to a happy green New Year as we complete this innovative project and help Swindon move closer to its target of powering the equivalent of every home with renewables by 2020.”