One of Swindon’s biggest and most important shopping centres wants to go green and help cut the borough’s carbon footprint.

Bosses at the Orbital shopping centre in north Swindon have requested planning permission from Swindon Borough Council to cover its buildings with 5,000 solar panels.

The application by Orbital Retail Park Swindon Ltd says: “Given the current climate crisis, it is crucial to consider the integration of renewable energies into local communities. Renewable energy technologies are clean sources energy that have a significantly decreased environmental impact, in comparison to conventional energy technologies.

“More specifically, in contrast to other sources of renewable energy, Solar PV provides a non- visually intrusive, commercially viable, solution to the issue we are facing.”

The Asda supermarket and the library which are also in the site are not owned by the company and are not part of the application. The supermarket already has a “moderate covering” of solar panel on the roof according to the application.

The company says that tenants at the shopping park will buy the energy, and any extra will be exported to the National Grid.

The 5,000 solar panels are expected to produce 56 per cent of the shopping park’s electricity needs and the owners say: ”This is a significant contribution to the site becoming net zero.

Swindon Advertiser: How Orbital's 5,000 solar panels might be situatedHow Orbital's 5,000 solar panels might be situated (Image: Orbital Retail Park Uk Ltd)And it will also be good for the retailers according to the application: “Given the current spike in energy prices there is an even stronger economic case for renewable energies.

“Retail parks such as Orbital are the most popular form of retail space in the UK with higher average footfalls than high streets or shopping centres.

“Installing Solar PV will protect local businesses in the park against the volatilities of the energy market.”

The application says there should be little visual intrusion from the panels, and that they will not cause glare or reflection to motorists or people living nearby: “The proposed installation has been designed in a means to limit the visual impact to the surrounding area as much as possible, by installing the panels flat to the roof so there is minimal height projection.

The banks of trees which surround the site further obscure the view of the site roofs from the neighbouring houses and roads. The roof is free from shading.

“The panels are designed to absorb sunlight to maximise electricity generation and have an anti-reflective coating which results in the minimisation of any glint and glare from the panels.”

No decision has been made on the application – the determination deadline is March 27.