Harworth Estates submit plans for four solar energy farms

Harworth Estates and development partner Re-Fin Solar submit plans for four solar energy farms in Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire to power 11,000 homes

Harworth Estates, the major land owner and property development company, and its partners Re-Fin Solar and Juwi, have submitted plans to councils in Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire for solar energy farms on four former colliery sites. If approved, the solar farms would generate enough low carbon energy to provide power for around 11,000 homes, by collecting and converting daylight into electricity.

The plans submitted to Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council for a proposed 36-hectare solar energy farm at Askern, north of Doncaster, would be Yorkshire’s largest solar energy site. It would generate approximately 15.7MW of power annually – enough to supply 4,000 households – and contributing around half of Doncaster’s total renewable energy target of 37 MW of peak power generation by 2021.

Plans have also been submitted to Newark & Sherwood District Council for a solar farm at Bilsthorpe, East of Mansfield, designed to generate 9.8MW, enough to power over 2,500 homes.

Gedling Borough Council has received a planning application for a solar farm at Gedling, on the edge of Nottingham (5.5MW), and Mansfield District Council has received an application for a solar farm at Welbeck, South of Worksop (12.2MW), together generating enough low carbon energy for around 4,500 homes.

Harworth Estates, Re-Fin Solar and Juwi working in partnership

If approved, the solar energy farms will be developed on Harworth Estates land by low carbon energy company RE-Fin Solar and its project partner Juwi. The installations would take around six months each to build and would have a lifespan of twenty five years.

Harworth Estates owns almost 200 former coal sites across the Midlands and Northern England and plans to develop a range of low carbon energy projects in the coming years, including wind, hydro, solar and anaerobic digestion.

Gary Owens, development manager at Harworth Estates, says: “As custodians of many former coal mining sites, Harworth Estates takes seriously its remit to create jobs in the communities where we work. Low carbon energy projects are an important part of Harworth Estates’ commitment to the community and the environment, and these four solar projects will deliver both energy and jobs.

“Solar power is an important part of the UK’s move to guarantee energy security and reduce carbon emissions. It would be most appropriate for what were major coal-producing sites to be home to major solar energy plants.

“Of course there is a global demand for low carbon energy as fossil fuel reserves are running out. But there is also an environmental need to reduce our carbon footprint and each person, each company and each community has to play its part. Harworth Estates’ role is to identify which of its sites best suit energy projects and to bring in appropriate development partners.

“We have already consulted local people at local exhibitions in each area and feedback has been very positive. It is important to the local communities that we put these sites to good use and create new jobs where we can.”

The proposals submitted for planning approval aim to have non-reflective solar panels fixed to the ground, standing 2.5 metres high and set in rows, tilted to face south. It would be possible for sheep or cattle to graze under them.

The panels will feed energy into the national grid via an inverter and a transformer utilising the existing gird connection adjacent to the sites.

Harworth Estates and Re-Fin Solar are also encouraging use of the solar energy farms as educational sites, with plans for school and college visits to teach children about low carbon energy.