Plans for a new solar farm that will generate enough electricity each year to power all of Leicestershire County Council’s properties and thousands of its streetlights have been approved.
The green energy complex is to be built on a 55-acre farmland site on land north of the A6 near Quorn.
The £5.9 million scheme will be developed by the county council to generate electricity from sunlight which would then feed into the grid.
The landscaped solar farm, on county council-owned land at Poole Farm, will create nearly 10,000 megawatt hours of electricity a year and will save nearly 5,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions annually.
It will help the council achieve its target of becoming an organisation with Net Zero carbon emissions by 2030 and its wider aim of the whole county producing net zero carbon emissions by 2045.
The solar farm could also save the council around £600,000-a-year in energy bills – making money available to pay for essential frontline services at a time when the authority is under significant financial pressure.
Clean energy created could also be sold back into the grid in the future to generate income for the authority.
County council cabinet member for resources councillor Lee Breckon said: “This project ticks so many important boxes for us.
“We are a green council investing in this environmentally-friendly project which will make a big contribution to creating clean and renewable energy while also providing considerable savings allowing us to fund vital front-line services.
“It is a key scheme in our Corporate Asset Investment Fund (CAIF) which we set up to use the council’s property and land innovatively to deliver savings.
“The money we make from CAIF protects key services at a time when there is much uncertainty around council funding.”
It is hoped construction of the solar farm will begin this autumn with it being ready to generate electricity from Summer 2023.
The land on which the solar farm is to be built will remain in agricultural use with livestock grazing alongside the panels.