Welsh ministers have given the go ahead for a 32MW solar project near Abergavenny, Wales. 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 7 February 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 Welsh Planning Inspector and sent to ministers for consideration. Welsh ministers approved the application on 17 January 2023. Construction of the solar farm is anticipated to begin in 2024. Renewable Connections has also received consent for a further project, Tregonning Solar Farm in Cornwall. The two latest consents bring Renewable Connections approved project portfolio to well over half a gigawatt. 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 it 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.
Leith said the solar farm will also “operate in synergy” with the existing agricultural business, enabling sheep grazing to continue within the proposed development area, while allowing the farming enterprise to remain financially viable. In addition to biodiversity improvements at the site, the project also has a community benefit fund that will support local good causes and initiatives. The solar farm’s facility, approximately 4km south-east of Abergavenny, was identified following an extensive site selection process across the region. Biodiversity measures proposed for the development 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.
Credits: renews.biz[Image: Renewable Connections]