PROPOSALS for two solar farms have been announced in a bid to offset energy costs at Yate’s largest public building.
South Gloucestershire Council wants to create the energy farms to generate and supply electricity to its Badminton Road offices on Station Road.
The authority has revealed its proposals for two ground mounted solar PV schemes at land adjoining its flagship offices in Yate and one on land at Moorend between the M4 and the A4174 Ring Road.
The council said both were small in comparison to other solar farms already built in the district with the Badminton Road farm covering 2.5 acres and the Moorend one five acres.
“The proposed schemes are relatively small compared to the commercial solar schemes already operating in the district,” a spokesman said.
“A commercial scheme at Says Court Farm in Westerleigh covers 100 acres.
“Both of the proposed sites are low grade agricultural land and have previously been used for landfill or sewerage works, so are ideal for solar development.”
He added: “We are working with a renewable energy company to assess the environmental impact of the proposals and to design a scheme which will have the least impact on the environment while still delivering an economically viable project.
“We are keen to provide local residents with the opportunity to view and comment on the proposals before the final business case is considered.”
The Badminton Road offices opened in 2010 at a cost of £32million.
More than 700 staff are based there including the council’s planning, children and housing benefits teams.
The building won an excellent BREEAM (building research establishment environmental assessment method) rating for its energy efficiency in the first few months of opening. It features solar panels, a biomass boiler, rainwater tanks, sensored lighting and windows but was subject to criticism for its cost and provision of only 312 car parking spaces.
The council said the move to Badminton Road, which allowed for the disposal of many rented and inefficient buildings elsewhere in the district, had helped the authority to reduce energy costs dramatically.
“We have already taken big steps to reduce costs and energy consumption across our estate by consolidating our buildings and installing energy saving measures and devices,” it said.
“These proposals will help reduce running costs, manage the impact of rising energy prices and reduce carbon emissions by 700 tonnes a year.”
An exhibition on the proposals is being held in the reception area of the Badminton Road offices on Monday, September 1 (3- 7pm) and on Tuesday, September 2 (3- 8pm).
The consultation ends on Wednesday, September 10 and formal plans will be submitted in late September when there will be a further opportunity for local residents to feedback their comments.
The proposals can also be viewed at www.southglos.gov.uk/consultation