A SOLAR farm which could power nearly 1,000 homes every year in Torfaen is a "win-win" opportunity for the council - both financially and environmentally - a councillor has said.

Torfaen council's cabinet has given its support to a business case for a solar farm at the former Ty Coch rubbish tip in Cwmbran.

It is predicted the solar farm will bring in an average income of around £24,000 per year for the council, after costs of £2.45 million to build it are taken into account.

A business case estimated the project will make a loss in the first six years of around £21,000.

But over its 35-year lifetime it will bring in an income of around £836,000, as well as covering its build costs.

The project will also offset 21 per cent of annual carbon dioxide generated by the council, which equates to 935 tonnes per year.


Councillor Fiona Cross, executive member for environment, told cabinet members on Tuesday she hoped the project will be a "win-win" for the council, both environmentally and financially.

"As a keen environmentalist, I am really heartened that we are making this bold policy change," she added.

Cllr Cross said the scheme could also be "a pathfinder for other energy projects of a similar nature."

Rachel Jowitt, the council's chief officer for neighbourhoods, planning and public protection, said the business case has been 'deliberately' prudent - and that the financial benefits could turn out better.

But Ms Jowitt said some of the costs in the project could change - and that if it is found the council would need to contribute to the running cost of the farm - an emergency cabinet meeting would be called to determine the project.

Council leader, Cllr Anthony Hunt, said the environmental benefits were the main point of the project, and that any income it brings to the council's budget would be a 'bonus.'

Building work for the solar farm, which has already been given planning permission, could start in April, with a view to it coming into operation in September.

The council is due to start site clearance work this month, and will then begin tender for parts such as solar panels in February.

Further financial checks will also need to be carried out before contracts are signed.