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Plans approved for 30-acre solar farm near Aberdare

Clean energy solutions company Enviromena has secured unanimous approval from planners for a 30-acre solar farm near Aberdare, South Wales.

Councillors on the Cynon Valley Council planning committee voted 8-0 in favour of the application at Bryngolwg Farm on Rhigos Road in Hirwan, Rhonnda Cynon Taf.

The 9 MW project was presented by Enviromena in partnership with RE Projects Development and will be built over four fields to the south of the farmhouse, accommodating between 16 and 23 rows of south-facing photovoltaic (PV) panels.

The Bryngolwg site will be capable of providing power to over 2,500 homes and will offset around 3,700 tonnes of carbon emissions per annum once operational. The site will keep all existing hedges and vegetation, and continued agriculture, with the lowest edge of the panels raised above the ground to enable sheep to continue grazing at the location.

Bryngolwg is Enviromena’s first project in the Principality, but the clean energy company is currently constructing other large sites across England, including a 24.2MW Horsey Levels project in Somerset and a 17.9MW project in Kiln Fields, Hampshire – the latter also received unanimous approval from Hart District Councillors back in July.

This planning permission comes at a time when UK consumers’ energy prices continue to rise as global instability surrounding supply caused by geopolitics and the war in Ukraine.

Enviromena’s European Sales Director, Lee Adams, who has worked closely with the South Wales site, said: “This is our second site to receive unanimous planning approval in four months and we believe that local planners are reacting to the urgent need for renewable energy to tackle rising electricity bills together with the need to meet the UK Government’s new targets to double existing renewable generation capacity by 2030.

Simeon Batov, Director of RE Projects Development said: “This will be a large-scale project that will make a huge amount of difference to the local community. We have worked with Enviromena to engage with all our stakeholders, who were all in agreement that we need to act now towards a future that is more sustainable – and as costs continue to rise, offer a cheaper alternative to traditional fuel. Our goal is to deliver over 1 gigawatt of subsidy free utility scale solar and battery storage projects in the UK over the next five years to facilitate smooth transition towards net zero carbon emissions.”

In the planning report, council officers stated:

“The principle of the development is considered to be acceptable, being a medium-scale solar farm development that would contribute to the Welsh Government’s commitment to optimising renewable energy generation. Furthermore, it is considered that the proposed development can reasonably be accommodated within the landscape without significant harm to the existing landscape character of the area and visual amenity.

“In addition, no objections have been raised by statutory consultees with respect to the potential impacts upon either the amenity of nearby residential properties, highway safety or ecology. The application is therefore considered to comply with the relevant policies of the Rhondda Cynon Taf Local Development Plan.”