The ground-mounted solar installations will be operational for 25 years and, once completed, will generate enough low-carbon energy to provide power for around 10,000 homes, while saving up to 15 tonnes of carbon per year, according to Anesco.
The project will begin with the development of three sites in Nottinghamshire: Welbeck Colliery in Mansfield, Gedling in Lambley and a third site in Bilsthorpe. A fourth site at Askern in South Yorkshire is awaiting planning consent. Anesco is working closely with landowner Harworth Estates, the UK property regeneration company, in bringing forward construction work at Welbeck, with work expected to commence on the remaining sites later in the year.
"Working with landowners to develop sites likes these former collieries fits perfectly with government policy, with the Department of Energy and Climate Change pushing the focus of growth in solar to be on brownfield sites and domestic and industrial roofs," said Adrian Pike, CEO of Anesco. "These sites are based in the Midlands and north of England, which is important as we believe it is essential that solar developments are made across the UK and not just in the south west."
Through these installations, Anesco will not only be regenerating disused land but will also be creating employment, generating renewable energy and helping to reduce the UK's carbon emissions. As Eddie Peat, director of natural resources at Harworth Estates, explains: "Low-carbon energy projects are an important part of Harworth Estates' commitment to the community and the environment, and our solar projects with Anesco will deliver both energy for thousands of new homes and new jobs for the region."
Welbeck Colliery in Mansfield will be the first site to come online, according to Anesco. The installation will cover an area measuring around 32 acres and will generate carbon savings of around 5.11 tonnes per year. It will comprise of 44,160 solar panels mounted on around 15km of frames that have a combined generation capacity of 11.2MW - sufficient energy to power more than 3,450 homes in the local area.
This will be followed by 5.74MW installations at both Gedling and Bilsthorpe, and an installation currently in the planning stage for Askern. Once active, each solar farm will be monitored by Anesco's maintenance system, AnescoMeter, which will ensure they continue to operate at their optimal capacity.