Several solar farms planned for Derbyshire

Solar panels.
Solar panels.

Residents are being asked to comment on proposals to build solar farms at several sites in Derbyshire.

Derbyshire County Council has identified six possible locations for the project in the north east and Amber Valley areas.

The proposals are to set up a series of ground-mounted solar photovoltaic (PV) sites – better known as solar farms – on council-owned land which is currently underused. This includes former colliery or underused agricultural land unsuitable for growing crops.

Initial investigations have identified the following sites for potential development:

• agricultural land at Swathwick Lane, Swathwick, Wingerworth

• Westthorpe Hills, former Westthorpe Colliery

• land at Pye Bridge, Alfreton

• former Swanwick Colliery reclamation land

• agricultural land at Mansfield Road, Temple Normanton

• former Williamthorpe Colliery

Councillor John Owen, the county council’s deputy cabinet member for highways, transport and infrastructure, said: “These sites are not currently being put to their best use and turning them into solar panel farms could offer great potential to generate income for the council and so help protect services.

“Generally, these proposed sites are already screened off, in out of the way areas and in most cases are not overlooked. And largely they tend not to be of much environmental interest. In some cases they could provide a good opportunity to improve the local conservation.” Cllr Owen added: “We have made a public commitment to invest in renewable energy technologies to help reduce our negative impact on climate change and provide local, green sources of energy.”

The project, which is being put forward in partnership with the Association for Public Sector Excellence, is in its early stages.

Next Tuesday the council will be asked to approve plans to consult on the initiative.

If any of the sites get the go-ahead they could be up and running by March 2016.

Meanwhile, Chesterfield Borough Council this week approved plans for a solar farm on private land north of Tom Lane, Duckmanton.

The farm will provide energy for more than 1,000 homes in the area.

Renewable energy developer RES, which is behind the plans, said: “We have always believed that this is a great site for a solar farm.

“We have designed a project that will maximise renewable energy generation while minimising impacts on the local environment and local people.”

Construction of the Arkwright Solar Farm is due to start in the summer.