A COMPANY owned by Swindon Borough Council is behind plans for a solar farm which could power almost 20,000 homes.

The proposal is for land near the River Thames at Burcot, east of Abingdon in the South Oxfordshire countryside.

Public Power Solutions (PPS) – a wholly-owned subsidiary of Swindon Borough Council – is aiming to turn it into a subsidy-free solar farm of up to 49.9MW, with a 49.9 MW battery storage system. 

The company has said this means the solar farm would generate enough renewable electricity to supply the equivalent of around 19,000 ‘typical’ homes.

It also estimates the solar farm would save an estimated 13,000 tonnes of CO2 per year.

The company said it hopes the energy could make a substantial contribution to national net zero targets after South Oxfordshire Council declared a climate emergency in 2019 and has committed to becoming a carbon neutral district by 2030.

Public Power Solutions director Steve Cains said: “Solar power is now the lowest-cost form of new electricity generation and has a vital role to play in the future transition to a net zero economy. 

“The site at Burcot Farm is well-suited for a solar development as the land is flat and already well screened on several sides by existing mature woodland, which will be supplemented by new planting where necessary.

“The land is currently used for arable farming; by taking it out of intensive agriculture and allowing the grassland to revert back to nature, we are anticipating a substantial biodiversity gain of around 80 per cent. 

“It will also be able to stay in agricultural use with sheep grazing. 

“We will also be offering a community benefit fund for the lifetime of the development.”