By Lewis Smith
PROPOSALS for a ‘nationally significant’ solar farm with the potential to power more than 7,000 homes are being prepared for submission in Neath Port Talbot this month, for land based in the ward of Margam and Taibach.
The site, which would be known as Eirlys Solar Farm, is being brought forward by Welsh-based energy developers Octo Partners, and energy giants EDF Renewables UK.
The project would see ground mounted solar panels, based on 99.5 hectares of land to the south of Moel Ton-mawr and west of Mynydd Margam, as part of the Welsh Government’s commitment to generating 70% of Wales’ electricity from renewable sources by 2030.
If given the green light by Welsh Ministers this solar farm development would provide a minimum of 29 MW capacity, along with a battery energy storage station and sub-station, placed on land close to the border with Bridgend County Borough.
Plans say the area near Port Talbot has been carefully chosen for its potential to deliver electricity to the grid through ground-mounted solar panels, adding, “The site layout has been designed in order to minimise any adverse impact on the surrounding area.”
The plans will now go through a specific type of planning process for nationally important infrastructure projects known as Developments of National Significance or DNS, first engaging with the local planning authority and affected communities.
Once this first stage is completed the DNS planning application would then go forward to the Welsh Government’s Planning and Environment Decisions Wales known as PEDW, for a decision by ministers.
Rob Jones, who is Labour leader for Neath Port Talbot and a member for Margam and Taibach, said: “I think this is a very exciting proposal for renewable energy in our area which will have a number of benefits for locals.
“It seems there will also be no visual impact on the natural beauty of the area because of where it will be located, and after having one consultation already residents seem cautiously optimistic.”