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Forest Heath plans £14m solar farm

Forest Heath will become one of the first councils to run its own solar power farm as a source of income.

A meeting of the council gave the go ahead for the £14.4m project, subject to due diligence checks.

The project involves buying a company with its land and project rights and signing a contract with another to connect the farm to the National Grid.

Therefore, commercial sensitivity means the council cannot reveal the location of the site, which has planning permission, or the names of the companies.

Council officers did say the site has no neighbours.

The expectations are for the solar farm to make £220,000 in the first year, rising to £310,000 in year five and £540,000 in year 10.

Risks were outlined as unexpected construction or operating costs, changes in Government policy, panels not performing as expected and panels needing early replacement.

If it passes due diligence, work will start in the autumn and it should be running by the end of March.

The presentation revealed the council has engaged Price Waterhouse Cooper to consult on financial issues, plus technical and legal advisors and is getting advice from Telford and Wrekin Council, who were the second council to build a solar farm.

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