BUILDING work will get underway next week to transform the former landfill site at Chapel Farm near Blunsdon into a solar park.

Construction follows Swindon Borough Council’s second successful solar bond rollout in the past year.

The bonds sold out over a month early, closing on December 23 having raised more than £2.4 million from investors in Swindon and beyond. The remaining £3m construction cost is being funded directly by council contributions.

These bonds were the first solar energy investment eligible to be held tax-free in a new type of green energy ISA introduced by the Government last year.

Steve Cains, head of power solutions at PPS, the firm delivering the project, said: “We’re extremely pleased with the outstanding success of Swindon’s second solar bond offer, which has proved attractive to over 800 individual investors who understand not only the environmental benefits of solar power but also the financial model.

“Chapel Farm will give a new lease of life to an ex-landfill site: as a solar farm, a managed biodiversity hotspot, and as a place for sheep to graze for part of the year.”

Construction is due to take approximately ten weeks, with 18,860 panels being installed at the site – enough to generate electricity for the equivalent of around 1,200 homes.

Mr Cains added: “The early closing of the bond offer was a great Christmas present for everyone involved – and now we’re looking forward to a happy green New Year as we complete this innovative project and help Swindon move closer to its target of powering the equivalent of every home with renewables by 2020.”

The new solar farm is expected to make a contribution from profits towards community initiatives and will help push the council closer to its goal of installing 200MW of renewable capacity by 2020.

Completion of Chapel Farm, which is set to have a capacity of 5MW, would take the total to 167MW – more than 80% of the target.