June 19, 2024

3,000 Solar Panels to Power Food Company

Shropshire Council plans to convert a former landfill site in Oswestry's industrial estate into a two-megawatt solar farm, with over 3,000 panels on a four-hectare plot near the town centre.

Shropshire Council Manages Solar Farm for 25 Years

Shropshire Council has proposed transforming a former landfill site within an Oswestry industrial estate into a solar farm generating two megawatts. The plan involves installing more than 3,000 solar panels on the four-hectare site located on Maesbury Road Industrial Estate, approximately one mile from the town centre.

The project aims to supply electricity directly to the nearby Arla Foods packaging plant through a direct connection, while any surplus power will be sold back to the national grid. Shropshire Council plans to construct and manage the solar farm for 25 years.

Arla Foods, under a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA), has committed to purchasing electricity generated at a fixed rate. Any excess electricity not utilized by the plant will be exported to the National Grid, generating additional revenue for the council.

The authority describes the project as a collaborative arrangement between the private and public sectors, offering benefits to both the council and the private firm, while assisting the area in achieving renewable energy targets.

Supporting the UK’s Clean Energy Objectives

The proposed 2MW solar farm offers financial benefits to both Shropshire Council and Arla Foods while supporting the UK’s clean energy objectives. A statement supporting the project highlighted that the private wire connection ensures a direct and efficient electricity supply to Arla Foods, with any excess energy being exported to the national grid. Shropshire Council's full ownership and oversight of the project ensures long-term commitment and effective management.

"The proposed 2MW solar farm offers financial benefits for the Council and Arla Foods, while contributing to the UK's clean energy goals," stated a statement of support. "The private wire connection provides direct and efficient electrical supply to Arla Foods, with any excess energy exported to the national grid. The Council's entire ownership and accountability for the project provides long-term commitment, as well as strong oversight and management.”

This initiative encourages collaboration among Shropshire Council, Arla Foods, and the national grid. Arla Foods stands to gain from a secure and potentially more affordable renewable energy source through the Power Purchase Agreement (PPA). Meanwhile, Shropshire Council anticipates generating revenue from electricity sales to Arla Foods and the national grid, promoting financial sustainability. Moreover, the project contributes to the UK’s renewable energy targets and helps reduce dependence on fossil fuels.

"This project promotes collaboration among the public sector (Shropshire Council), corporate sector (Arla Foods), and the national grid. Arla Foods benefits from the PPA, which provides a secure and potentially lower-cost renewable energy supply. The Council generates cash by selling electricity to Arla Foods and the National Grid, which promotes financial sustainability. The initiative helps the UK meet its renewable energy targets while also reducing its dependence on fossil fuels.”

Cutting Carbon Emissions

The council indicated that the proposed solar farm aims to cut carbon emissions from the packaging plant by an estimated 418,559 kilograms per year, generating approximately 2,000,000 kWh of power annually.

Arla Foods completed the installation of roof-mounted solar panels last year, which can produce up to 800 kilowatts at their peak. Pending approval, construction at the site is expected to last around five months. Shropshire Council’s planning department will decide on the scheme in due course.

The proposed solar farm on Oswestry's industrial estate represents a significant step towards sustainability for Shropshire Council and Arla Foods. By utilizing over 3,000 solar panels on a reclaimed landfill site, the project aims to directly supply renewable electricity to Arla Foods while reducing carbon emissions and supporting the UK's clean energy goals.

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