Time is ticking for Soham Solar Farm - build or pay back £230,000

08:47 03 July 2014

Archant

The clock is ticking to get a massive solar farm built in Cambridgeshire before a deadline runs out on European grant funding.

Soham Solar park needs to be up and running to prove it is energy efficient before August 21 next year otherwise Cambridgeshire County Council must pay back thousands of pounds that it has already been given.

The plan is to create a solar farm on 68 acres of land at Angle Common to produce 10 megawatts of clean energy for around 3,000 homes and save 4,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide.

A contract was signed in August 2012 to secure a £700,000 green energy grant with a condition that the investment must be increased to 15 times what was given.

Already £230,000 of the grant money has been spent but with little more than a year to go on the August 2015 deadline, the solar farm is way from being finished - a planning application has not yet been submitted - and councillors are getting worried that the project is becoming a “risk”.

A report, due to be discussed at Cambridgeshire County Economy and Environment Committee, says there is a risk that the grant money can be “clawed back” on a “proportional basis”.

The report says: “At the time of signing the contract the risk was considered to be low and acceptable as there were a range of potential projects for delivery and that there was a strong likelihood that we could deliver the required objectives.”

However the report adds: “As a result of recent structural and financial changes, there is an increased risk that the investments into the energy projects may not be delivered in time for the MLEI time scales and some claw-back of the grant could happen.”

Cambridgeshire County Council, Cambridgeshire City Council, South Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire District Council signed the contract with the Mobilising Local Energy Investment Project (MLEI) as part of a bid to invest £15million to kick start a green energy initiative including the new solar farm in Soham.

Other plans include creating energy efficient public buildings such as schools, village halls, sports centres and council owned offices.

In a meeting next week (Tuesday July 8) councillors will be recommended to continue with the project and review the risk by December 2014.

By then there should be a clearer idea of the timescales to connect Soham Solar farm to UK Power Networks’ local network, the funding opportunities for academy schools to go green and the scope to set up a Cambridgeshire energy company.

Alternative ideas are to stop the project now and pay back £230,000 already spent.

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Ely Standard visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Ely Standard staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Ely Standard account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More news stories

15 minutes ago
CCG meeting, Doddington

More people were turned away rather than allowed in to a packed public consultation in Doddington last night concerning the threat to close three Cambridgeshire minor injuries units.

6 minutes ago
Rich Wilson.

Roar with Laughter, a charity comedy event being held at the Quy Mill Hotel & Spa, takes place next month.

11 minutes ago
The Ely LGBT+ group is to hold a fundraising concert on September 10.

The newly-formed LGBT group in Ely is to host a fundraising concert – the Pride ‘Night Out.’

30 minutes ago
CLA East Regional Surveyor Tim Woodward, Inspector Jon Papworth of Norfolk Police and Farmwatch’s Tony Bone at the 2014 launch of a hare coursing warning sign for farmers and landowners in the county.

The Country Land and Business Association (CLA) is urging police bosses across the region to ensure tackling hare coursing is treated as a high priority ahead of the conclusion of this year’s harvest.

Most read stories

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Ely Standard e-edition E-edition
HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Newsletter Sign Up