Ambitious plans to develop a solar farm and one of the first carbon neutral sites in the country, are due to be considered this week.
The solar farm based on Barrow Road would generate almost 10 megawatts of electricity a year – enough to power County Hall, which provides a working environment for more than 3,000 members of staff.
As part of the plans, the authority is also looking to build a carbon neutral industrial site.
Officers are in discussions with architects and environmental engineering experts to try to achieve this. The development could include solar roof panels, LED lighting, rainwater harvesting and electric vehicle charging.
If approved by Cabinet, a planning application for the new site just east of the A6, for the solar farm and nine high-spec industrial units, will be submitted.
Byron Rhodes, deputy council leader, said “We are a green council and tackling climate change is one of our top priorities.
“We have a list of projects we are exploring and creating a solar farm is one of them. We take our commitments to reduce carbon very seriously and this development would produce clean, green energy, while building new units would offer local businesses the chance to get their foot on the ladder or expand.
“Investing in property also means we can generate income to plough back into services, helping to meet ever-increasing demands.”
It’s estimated that this phase of the project would cost around £14m – this would be paid for using one-off pots of money, including income from property sales and investment. The returns would generate more than £800,000 a year, which will benefit services from social care to highway maintenance.
The council’s Cabinet will discuss the proposal at its meeting on Friday, 22 November – if approved, plans will be firmed up and a planning application submitted in December.