One of the UK’s largest council-owned solar farms has generated over £1.5m of income in its third year – its best-ever performance, and around £100,000 more than they expected.
West Suffolk Council’s 12.4MW solar farm, located at Toggam Farm in Lakenheath, has raised over £4m of income since it was first plugged in back in August 2016.
Over the past 12 months, the solar farm generated £560,000 towards the funding of local services, bringing the total amount of council funding directly generated by the farm since it started to £1.2m.
This total considers the operating costs of the farm, as well as recouping some of the capital the council used to buy it.
Cllr Sarah Broughton, cabinet member for performance and resources at West Suffolk Council, said: ‘This is just one of the many ways the council is not only successfully reducing our impact on the climate but also creating an income stream to support services and other ambitions.’
The income generated by the solar farm comes from selling electricity to the National Grid, as well as income guaranteed from the government for the next 20 years through Renewable Obligation Certificates.
Over the last 12 months, the solar farm generated a total of 12,631MWh of electricity against a target of 11,591MWh.
That is enough electricity to power around 3,300 homes and offset the carbon dioxide emissions from 1,500 cars.
As well as helping to fund day-to-day council services, it has also made a substantial reduction to West Suffolk Council’s carbon emissions, helping it in its goal of becoming a carbon-neutral council.
Depending on the weather, the council says the income from the solar farm could well rise even further next year.
Cllr John Griffiths said: ‘Our cabinet unanimously agreed to recommend the council declare a climate change emergency and have set up an Environment and Climate Change Task Force to explore further practical actions to add to the many we are already taking.
‘We welcome, and are always looking at, opportunities to do more things like this successful project.’
The solar farm is currently set to last for at least the next 25 years, while the council has the option to extend the project nearer the time.