Swindon & Wiltshire Business News

Swindon solar park up for national award

Barnfield Solar ParkThe company behind a Swindon solar park is up for a national award.

Public Power Solutions Ltd is a finalist in the 2019 APSE Service Awards for Barnfield Solar Park. The awards are designed to recognise excellence in local government frontline services across the UK and are open to all local authorities and their public sector partners.

Barnfield Solar Park, next to the Swindon Recycling Centre, is a 2.5 MW ‘private-wire’ project on a former landfill site owned by Swindon Borough Council, which owns Public Power Solutions.

Located next to the Council’s recycling centre it is directly connected to the Solid Recovered Fuel Plant, providing a source of renewable energy to power the plant and saving the Council around £185,000 a year in energy costs. The council invested directly in the project, agreeing a long-term power purchase arrangement with PPS so it operates profitably without a large subsidy.

Bernie Brannan, managing director, PPS, said: “It’s great news that PPS has once again been recognised by the Public Sector for our innovative work developing renewable energy projects across Swindon.

"Barnfield Solar Park is saving approximately 1,000 tonnes of carbon a year for Swindon - equivalent to taking 217 cars off the road. The town now sends almost no waste to landfill, so with the re-processing of Swindon’s waste into an alternative fuel now being fuelled by solar power, we’re making an important local contribution to the UK’s Net Zero 2050 target.”

This is the second time PPS has been shortlisted for an APSE Public Service Award. In 2017, the company went on to win in the renewable energy category for Chapel Farm Solar Park.

Paul O’Brien, APSE chief executive, said: "Local councils do great work but too often they are the unsung heroes of public services. These awards are about celebrating the hard work and achievements of frontline services, and the local government workforce delivering them. These services and local initiatives make a real difference to local places and local people. Congratulations to all the finalists."

PPS has plans to develop the Waterside site as an energy innovation area, including adding behind-the-meter battery storage which would allow any unused generation to be stored, for example when the plant shuts down for maintenance or there is a shift change.

The power can then be used when it is needed most and during non-daylight hours, as the plant runs 24/363. The energy innovation area will also assist the move to electrification of the SBC fleet.

With the removal of government incentives for solar, PPS is working on many more private-wire developments like this for other local authorities, which deliver substantial cost savings to the end users.

The winners will be revealed in Newcastle on September 12.