Solar farm on former landfill site in Elstow goes live generating enough to power 1,000 homes

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A new solar farm in Elstow – which is built on a former landfill site and is made up of over 8,000 solar panels – is now fully energised and providing low-carbon electricity to the grid.

Bedford Borough Council’s new solar farm is capable of generating up to 4.2MW of electricity and is enough to power approximately 1,000 homes.

The local authority has set ambitious targets of becoming net-zero by 2030 and the solar array will play an important role in meeting these targets.

Its grand opening was celebrated on 28 July, marked by the cutting of a ribbon by Mayor Dave Hodgson.

Guests from South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership (SEMLEP), Bedford Borough Council and Vital Energi attended.

Graeme Outridge (Senior Consultant, Wiser Environment), Judith Barker (Director of Programmes and Governance, SEMLEP), Dave Hodgson Mayor of Bedford Borough, Simon Jones (Regional Manager, North & Scotland Vital Energi), George Webb (Managing Director, G Webbs)

Scott Lutton, Vital Energi’s Operations Director said: “Former open cast landfill sites can be problematic, but Bedford Borough Council have created an innovative solution which will transform the areas into a 21st-century solar farm.

“This approach will now generate huge carbon savings which will make a strong contribution to Bedford Borough on its net zero journey.

“The topography of the land is quite uneven, which made this a challenging project to install, but we’re delighted with the technical solution and it’s a great, new addition to Bedford’s low-carbon energy infrastructure.”

Dave Hodgson, Mayor of Bedford Borough said: “The solar farm is delivering low carbon, clean energy and will encourage others to reduce carbon emissions, adopt innovative technologies and improve air quality.

“The project has cost £4.15m – with Bedford Borough Council investing over £2.2milion and the project being awarded more than £1.8million from the South East Midlands Enterprise Partnership (SEMLEP) toward the project. I would like to thank them for their contribution.”

Hilary Chipping, SEMLEP CEO said, “SEMLEP is proud to have supported this fantastic project which contributes to sustainable economic growth and innovation by changing the dial on energy use and attracting new, innovative businesses.

“In addition to generating clean, green energy it has delivered new jobs and, in collaboration with the universities and college, will support the development of skills in green technologies, all benefitting the communities of the area.”

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