Plans for four-acre solar park at major Telford factory complex

A four-acre solar park could be built on the grounds of a major Telford factory complex, if plans are approved.

Ricoh in Telford
Ricoh in Telford

Ricoh UK Products Ltd has applied to build the photovoltaic panels on open ground west of its Priorslee factory.

A design statement, submitted on behalf of the company, estimates it could generate power equivalent to the amount used by 281 homes in a year and save 521 tonnes of carbon emission.

“Ground-mounted solar has been proposed for the Ricoh site as the existing building roof structures are not capable of supporting the weight of roof-mounted installation,” planning agent Charlotte Powell writes.

Her statement says the south-facing panels would be set at 20-degree angle, reaching two metres at their highest point and generating more than 1,200 megawatts annually. A two-metre fence would surround the 1.6-hectare area, with CCTV cameras positioned at the edge.

She writes: “The application site is located to the west of the existing Ricoh UK Products factory buildings, to the east of the existing University of Wolverhampton Telford Campus buildings.

The planned site

“The application site occupies open ground currently managed as a wildflower grassland with informal recreational paths.”

The area around the panels would continue to be maintained as wildflower grassland if the plans are approved, she adds.

The planned solar panels would be within sight of the 18th-century Priorslee Hall, which is now part of the university campus, Ms Powell writes. However, she adds, a 20-metre-wide belt of newly-planted trees and shrubs is included in the application, rendering the solar park invisible “after a few years”.

“Telford and Wrekin Council has recently invited Ricoh to join the Climate Change Partnership which aspires to carbon-neutral operations within the borough by 2030,” Ms Powell writes.

“The proposed development demonstrates Ricoh’s long-term commitment to its operations in Telford through the transition to sustainable operations.”

St Georges and Priorslee Parish Council will be consulted about the application, and Telford and Wrekin Council will make its decision at a later date.

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