Matthew Neville

New South Yorkshire solar energy park to play “crucial” role in net zero drive

Plans for an “innovative” renewable energy generation and storage project to the east of Sheffield are set to be revealed.

Independent renewable energy firm Banks Renewables is developing a planning application for a new solar energy park on a 116-hectare piece of agricultural land to the west of the Todwick Road Industrial Estate in Dinnington, around three miles east of Banks’ Penny Hill wind farm.

The Common Farm solar project would have an installed capacity of up to 50MW, which would be enough to meet the annual energy requirements of up to 18,800 family homes and would displace over 11,470 tonnes of carbon dioxide from the electricity supply network each year.

A 50MW battery energy storage system linking directly into the Thurcroft electricity sub-station around three kilometres to the north of the site would also form part of the project and would help to support the long-term security of energy supplies to UK consumers.

As part of the company’s policy of delivering “tangible benefits” to the places in which its operations are based, at least £50k of the revenues generated by the Common Farm project would be made available every year as part of a package to support local good causes. This equates to more than £2m through the lifetime of the project.

Banks Renewables is expecting to submit a planning application to Rotherham Council for the new scheme in the coming months, with a view to it being determined before the end of the year.

Lewis Stokes, senior community relations manager at The Banks Group, said: “Maximising the production of renewable energy from domestic sources is a crucial part of the UK’s ongoing journey towards its Net Zero targets, especially within the current energy security climate, and the Common Farm solar scheme will further extend the contribution that we’re able to make locally towards reaching these goals.

“The project is located in an area that we know very well, and having conducted a detailed search, we identified this site as providing the best opportunity to create a solar park that links directly into the Thurcroft substation.”

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