PLANS to build two solar farms which will power South Gloucestershire Council’s flagship office block in Yate have been displayed to the public.

The proposals, brought forward by the authority in a bid to offset energy costs at its £32million Badminton Road offices, were the subject of a public exhibition on Monday (September 1) and Tuesday (September 2).

Dave Perry, the council’s director of corporate resources, said feedback on the ground-mounted solar PV schemes, at land adjoining the offices and another at Moorend, had so far been positive.

He said: “The proposed solar farm scheme will enable us to generate and supply electricity directly to our Badminton Road offices and will help us to reduce running costs, manage the impact of rising energy prices and reduce carbon emissions by 700 tonnes a year.

“The exhibition provided local residents with the opportunity to view and comment on the proposals before the final business case is considered.

“The initial feedback on the scheme has been very positive, and we want to encourage as many local residents as possible to come along to view the proposals and have their say.”

If they go ahead, the development would see a 2.5 acre farm built next to the offices and a five-acre farm on land at Moorend, between the M4 and the A4171 Avon Ring Road.

Both sites are low grade agricultural land and have previously been used for landfill or sewerage works.

The council is 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. It says the solar farms would help the authority save on its energy bills and reduce carbon emissions by 700 tonnes a year.

The Badminton Road offices opening in 2010 and houses more than 700 staff. Although criticised for the initial cost of building, it allowed the council to dispose of rented accommodation and consolidate its offices.

A pre-planning consultation on the solar farms closes on Wednesday, September 10. There will be a further opportunity for local residents to comment on the scheme when the formal plans are submitted in late September.