Shropshire Star

Council lodges plans for 3,000-panel solar farm in Oswestry on former landfill site

A former landfill site on an Oswestry industrial estate could become a two megawatt solar farm under new plans lodged by Shropshire Council.

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The scheme would see over 3,000 solar panels installed on the 4 hectare site on Maesbury Road Industrial Estate, around a mile from the centre of the town.

The development would provide electricity for the neighbouring Arla Foods packaging plant via a direct connection to the building – with excess power sold back to the national grid.

Arla Foods packaging plant, Mile Oak Industrial Estate, Oswestry. Photo: Google

Under the scheme, Shropshire Council will develop and run the solar farm for a period of 25-years, with dairy co-operative Arla Foods agreeing to purchase electricity generated by the site at a pre-set price, known as a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA).

Any electricity not used by the factory could then be exported to the National Grid, which the council says would provide an extra income stream for the authority.

The authority says the scheme would be a “collaborative” arrangement between the private and public sectors, which would provide benefits to both the council and the private firm, while helping the area meet renewable energy targets.

“The proposed 2MW solar farm offers financial benefits for the Council and Arla Foods, while contributing to the UK’s clean energy goals,” said a supporting statement.

“The private wire connection ensures direct and efficient electricity supply to Arla Foods, with any surplus energy exported to the national grid. The Council’s full ownership and responsibility for the project ensures long-term commitment and robust oversight and management.

“This project fosters collaboration between the public sector (Shropshire Council), private sector (Arla Foods), and the national grid. Arla Foods benefits from a secure and potentially lower-cost renewable energy source through the PPA.

“The council generates revenue through electricity sales to Arla Foods and the National Grid, promoting financial sustainability. The project contributes to the UK’s renewable energy targets and reduces reliance on fossil fuels.”

The council added that proposed solar farm would reduce carbon emissions from the packaging plant by an estimated 418,559kg per year, with an estimated 2,000,000 Kwh of power generated per annum from the site.

Last year, Arla Foods completed the installation of roof mounted solar panels at the site, which the firm says generate around 800 Kilowatts at their peak power output.

If approved, construction work at the site would be expected to last around five months.

The scheme will be decided by Shropshire Council’s planning department in due course.

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