The Solid Recovered Fuel plant at Waterside Park takes a lot of electricity to dry out and mince up thousands of tonnes of rubbish which it makes into fuel.

But now much of that power is supplied by the sun.The Barnfield solar farm, with rows of 9,000 panels on top of an old landfill site next to Waterside Park is hooked up directly to the processor run by Public Power Solutions - a private company wholly owned by Swindon Borough Council - and was switched on last week, supplying 2.5 megawatts of energy - about enough to power 1,500 homes.

Overall the solar farm is expected to enable Swindon Borough Council to save £185,000 a year in energy costs.

Councillor Maureen Penny, the council’s cabinet member for highways and the environment, said: “This is the latest example of how, using PPS, we have been able to use renewable energy to reduce our carbon footprint, which is a top priority for us.

“We have been particularly successful in recent years in delivering solar schemes across the Borough and this latest project is no exception, with the energy being used to power our SRF plant, which does such an excellent job in preventing our waste from going to landfill.

“It will also save a significant amount of money at a time when we have to deliver large savings from our budget, so I am delighted we have been able to flick the switch this week to get the benefit of this green energy source.”

Steve Cains, head of power solutions, PPS, said: “Barnfield ticks a lot of boxes for us – it’s a very good use of a former landfill site, it’s helping the council achieve its renewable energy goals and manage energy costs, and will be using a source of renewable energy generated on-site to power the renewable fuel plant.“This is another example of how PPS is leading the way with innovative energy solutions for local authorities. With the removal of government incentives for solar, we expect to work on many more private-wire developments like this which deliver substantial cost savings to the end users.”