Plans being drawn up for new solar energy park

Plans for an important new renewable energy scheme to the south east of Leeds are set to be revealed.

Independent renewable energy firm Banks Renewables is developing a planning application for a solar energy park which will have an installed capacity of approximately 40MW.

This would be enough to meet the annual energy requirements of up to 12,000 family homes and would displace over 9,400 tonnes of carbon dioxide from the electricity supply network each year.

The Barnsdale scheme would include solar panels and battery storage covering an area of around 50 hectares of south-facing agricultural land between Kippax and Allerton Bywater, around three miles from the nearby Hook Moor wind farm which Banks Renewables owns and operates.

It will link directly into the Ledston Primary electricity sub-station situated along Barnsdale Road, to the south east of the site.

As part of the company’s policy of delivering tangible benefits to the locations in which its operations are based, around £25,000 of the revenues generated by the scheme would be directed every year into a benefits fund that would provide funding for local charities, community groups and good causes.

Banks Renewables is expecting to submit a planning application to Leeds City Council for the new scheme before the end of the year, with a view to it being determined in the first quarter of 2021.

Lewis Stokes, community relations manager at The Banks Group, says: “The UK has set itself ambitious targets for renewable energy generation which require new infrastructure and generating facilities to be developed in appropriate locations.

“The project is located is an area that we know very well, and having conducted a detailed search, this site was identified as providing the best opportunity to create a solar park that links directly into the adjacent electricity substation.

“We will look to work closely with local parish councils and other community representatives to ensure we develop a comprehensive and detailed planning application, with particular reference to the planned ecological and biodiversity enhancements meeting specific local priorities.

“The benefits fund will also extend the contribution we’ve made to enhancing local communities in recent years and we hope Leeds City Council’s planning committee will support the vision we’re developing for this important project.”