With the backdrop of the climate and cost of living crisis, JBM Solar has launched its formal pre-application consultation for the ‘Craig Y Perthi’ solar and battery storage project in Newport. If consented, the proposals would generate enough cheap renewable electricity for over 45,300 Welsh homes.

With high electricity and gas prices creating a cost-of-living crisis, and solar generation recently becoming one of the cheapest forms of electricity generation (up to 9x cheaper than gas and 2x cheaper than nuclear), the Craig Y Perthi Solar Farm, located between the M4 and the Llanwern Steel works, and adjacent to the village of Bishton in Newport, would provide enough cheap renewable energy for over 45,300 Welsh homes, if approved this year.

South Wales Argus:

JBM Solar are now seeking local input on the updated scheme, following their initial consultation last year. The plans are for a 99.9MW solar and battery storage farm that would help tackle the climate crisis by saving over 3,180,000 tonnes of carbon compared to fossil fuel generation, the equivalent of planting over 52 million trees or taking 707,000 cars off the road for a year.
The designs for the Craig Y Perthi Solar Farm, ‘aim to considerably improve local biodiversity and opportunities for wildlife.' Coming from a conservation background, and training as an ecologist, Robin Johnson is also the project manager for the scheme, representing JBM Solar.

He notes: ‘The farm will support a diverse range of habitats and species once up and running. There will be over 334 acres of diverse grassland planted, alongside over 89 acres of new dedicated wildflower meadows with butterfly/bee habitats, on previously largely monocultural, intensively managed land subject to ongoing pesticide and fertiliser use. We are proposing to plant over 11.3km of new native hedgerows and trees, which will greatly improve local interconnectivity of habitats.

'Solar farms, when done correctly, represent a fantastic opportunity to create vast new habitats, and a result of this wildlife centric design means a considerable 50% gain to local biodiversity will be achieved.

'Further to this, the wildflower meadow mix used will contain important forage crops for the native, but threatened, shrill carder bee, and alongside the complete removal of pesticides and fertilisers from the site, this represents a fantastic opportunity for this incredible species.

'There will also be an array of bird boxes, bee/insect hotels, reptile hibernacula and log piles across the site. Wildlife conservation is my passion, and I’m delighted with what we’ve been able to achieve with this project.’ 

The 5m spacing between the rows of panels allows high quality grass to grow resulting in continued sheep and chicken grazing on the already part-pastoral farm, and thus not impacting food production.

Additionally, none of the land being used is considered ‘good’ quality following independent soil testing. Likewise, it was recently reported that if we are to hit solar deployment and 100% renewable energy targets, the UK would need to use just 0.3% of its land for solar.

Plans show that all footpaths on-site will be protected, greatly enhanced/restored to improve accessibility, and widened to a minimum of 10 metres in width (from 1-1.8m currently).
The project will also provide a £300,000 fund to support local projects and initiatives, in addition to funding rooftop solar for local schools in the area.

You can view more and comment on the scheme at: www.CraigYPerthiSolarFarm.co.uk

Or by getting in touch with Robin or the team at Info@CraigYPerthiSolar.Farm at any time.

The consultation is due to run until September 11, 2023.