PLANS for a solar farm in Torfaen which could power around 1,000 homes have been backed for approval.

The development at the former Ty Coch rubbish tip in Cwmbran would generate around 3MW (megawatts) of renewable energy per year, while offsetting 935 tonnes of carbon dioxide.

It would cost £2.7 million to build, with Torfaen council, the applicant, expecting returns of £1.8 million during its 35-year lifespan, after which it would be dismantled and removed.


Under the plans, 10,488 solar panels will be installed, arranged in rows 3.82m wide by up to 40m long and 3.7m apart.

The proposals also include 16 inverter cabinets, a power transformer station and a substation.

Security measures including a 2.5m high fence and 16 CCTV poles around the perimeter of the site are also included.

Within the council’s local development plan, the undeveloped 13-acre brownfield site is earmarked as employment land.

But the council’s attempts to lure businesses to the site have proved fruitless, with three separate suitors ruling out relocating to the area.

A planning report says the contaminated ground left over from the site’s previous use would make it difficult to construct new buildings.

Planning policy says councils should give “significant weight” to Welsh Government targets to increase renewable and low carbon energy generation as part of efforts to tackle climate change.

A report recommending approval says the scheme is “fully consistent” with government aims to “tackle climate change in the form of a decarbonised society” and increase energy security.

Senior councillors have said the scheme would help towards the Welsh Government’s target for 70 per cent of all electricity production in Wales to come from local renewable sources by 2030.

Cllr Fiona Cross, environment cabinet member, previously said the energy generated at the solar farm would be equivalent to 24 per cent of Torfaen’s total electricity consumption.

“This is a significant contribution,” said Cllr Cross.

“The council is currently generating 220kwh (kilowatt hours) of electricity and 254kwh of heat energy generation

“This project has the potential to provide a long-term income to the council and deliver a number of benefits for carbon reduction.”

The plans, recommended for approval by planning officers, will be decided by Torfaen council’s planning committee at a meeting on Tuesday, October 15.