Welsh Ministers have given the go ahead for a solar farm approximately 32megawatts (MW) on land at Great House, Penpergwm, Abergavenny, that will generate enough energy for up to 9000 homes.
Renewable Connection submitted a formal application to Planning and Environment Decisions Wales (PEDW) for Penpergwm Solar Farm in late 2021. The application was formally accepted on February 7, 2022, following extensive engagement, consultation and design improvements. Hearings with the Planning Inspectorate took place in August 2022, following which a final report, including a recommendation, was prepared by a Welshing Planning Inspector and sent to Welsh Ministers for consideration. Welsh ministers approved the application on the 17th January 2023.
Renewable Connections also received consent for a further project, Tregonning Solar Farm in Cornwall, on the same day. The two latest consents bring Renewable Connections approved project portfolio to well over half a gigawatt, enough to power the equivalent of over 355,000 UK homes.
John Leith, Development Director at Renewable Connections said: “We are exceptionally pleased with this outcome, and very proud of our development team and the way they managed the iterative design process, ultimately, achieving the right decision. Penpergwm Solar Farm will significantly support the Welsh Government’s decarbonisation and climate resilience targets.
This includes generating seventy percent of consumed electricity from renewable means by 2030. The solar farm will save an estimated 16,188 tonnes of CO2 each year, the equivalent of taking over 10,000 cars off Welsh roads, every year.
He added: “The solar farm will also operate in synergy with the existing agricultural business, enabling sheep grazing to continue within the proposed development area, whilst allowing the farming enterprise to remain financially viable. And as well as a wide range of biodiversity improvements the project also has a community benefit fund that will support local good causes and initiatives.”
The solar farm, which is up to 32MW, is on land at Penpergwm, approximately 4km southeast of Abergavenny. The site was identified following an extensive site selection process across the region. Biodiversity measures proposed for the site include the planting of new and reinforcement of existing hedgerows to promote species diversity and green corridors. Bat and bird boxes will also be installed along with the creation of bee banks, badger gates, dormice nests, reptile hibernacula and invertebrate hotels.
Existing footpaths will be improved and new, safeguarded routes for 40 years will be created alongside the planting of a community orchard and extensive wildflower meadows.
Construction of the solar farm is anticipated to begin in 2024.