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Solar farm is back on track

A new solar farm for Cardiff - the size of 20 Principality Stadium pitches - will produce enough Green energy to power approximately 2,900homes every year for 35 years.

The proposed42- acre solar farm, on the former Lamby Way landfill site will also help Cardiff Council reach environmental targets by offsetting 2,972 tonnes of Carbon Dioxide (C02)

Cardiff Council's Planning Committee will consider a planning application for the new facility on May 15thfollowing the withdrawal of concerns relating to roosting birds from Natural Resources Wales. If planning permission is granted, Cabinet will then be asked to approve the results of a tender process to build the solar farm at its meeting on May 16th.

Councillor Michael, Cabinet Member for Clean Streets, Environment and Recycling said:"This project shows that the Council can continue to play its part in reducing our carbon emissions while increasing the production of renewable energy in Wales in line with Welsh Government's requirements. A Climate Emergency has been declared by the Council and by National Governments and this project is a significant step forwards in this difficult area. The figures show that we can also generate a small surplus income for the Council from an otherwise difficult site to develop.

"Initially it was calculated that the solar farm would be able to generate 7.5 MegaWatts of electricity each year, but following the tender process, the preferred bidder to design and build the scheme is proposing a bigger facility, capable of generating 8.99MW of electricity per annum.

"Although this increases the total costs to build and maintain the solar farm over the 35 year period from £14.9m to £16.3m, the income that will be received from the sale of green electricity increases from £21.2m up to £25.8m during this time - which ensures that the payback period for the council remains unchanged.

"The Council has been working closely with Dwr Cymru/Welsh Water on plans to use 5MW of green electricity from the solar farm to help power their waste water facility over a 20-year period andthisan agreement on this is now in place. The remaining 3.99 Mega Watts of electricity will then be sold to the National Grid. The Council has also received the support of the Welsh Government's Energy Service throughout the feasibility and procurement stages of the project and to help develop the business case for the scheme.

"After the 20-year period has ended, all 8.99 MW of energy generated will be sold to the National Grid for the remaining 15 years of the project."

The preferred contractors are scheduled to be appointed at the end of May, with the majority of the construction on site completed by October 2019. This will allow the commissioning process to take place in November this year.

Cllr Michael added: ""Welsh Government has madeita clear ambition for all public sector organisations to be carbon neutral by 2030. By 2030, we have been told that 70% of all energy consumed in Wales has to be sourced by Welsh renewable energy with at least 1 Giga Watt of this electricity generation locally owned. Without a doubt, this scheme will help towards this target and contribute towards Cardiff's carbon savings."

The green energy which will be sold directly toDwr Cymru/Welsh Water will bedelivered using a ‘private wire' which will be a dedicated high voltage cable connection between the solar farm and Rover Way Waste Water Treatment Works. The energy supplied through the private wire will not be subject to the usual pass-through charges and taxes which are applicable to energy distributed through the National Grid which now make up over 50% of total electricity tariffs. This ensures that the income to the Council increases by using this arrangement and the cost to Dwr Cymru/Welsh Water is lower than buying from the National Grid.