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Swindon lights the way on solar power – report

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Swindon lights the way when it comes to embracing solar power technology, according to a new report from the Solar Trade Association.

The trade body's Leading Lights report shows how local councils are leading the way on solar by building modern solar homes, developing ‘subsidy-free’ solar farms, master planning ‘smart’ neighbourhoods and using solar to save money and provide stable sources of revenue to fund services.

Highlights from the collection of 26 pioneering and proven case studies, which detail financing, include a tax-free investment from local people in a solar farm developed by Public Power Solutions for Swindon Council.

The report features Swindon Borough Council strongly for a slate of superb solar schemes delivered by Public Power Solutions, which is wholly owned by the Council.

Swindon projects featured in the report include:

  • The establishment of the first ever tax-free solar ISA, for investment by local people, to fund a 5MW community solar farm
  • The site preparation for a huge 50MW battery storage facility, and
  • The development of one of the UK’s largest solar farms at 61MW on a former airfield, funded in partnership with other boroughs

Overall the solar projects developed by Swindon Borough Council raise £647,000 every year which help to fund local services.

Chris Hewett, chief executive of the Solar Trade Association said: “Swindon Borough Council’s dedicated delivery body, Public Power Solutions, has been stunningly effective on solar power.

"We want to congratulate the council on being a leading light for solar in the UK, and we look forward to seeing many more pioneering solar schemes from Swindon in the future.”

The report makes ten recommendations to local authorities to make solar work today. These include higher building standards, use of zero interest Salix Finance, going for high volume tenders and larger schemes to improve economics, granting solar business rate relief to state schools and community energy groups and including solar and storage alongside electric vehicle strategies.