Council chiefs urged to acquire £63.5 million solar farm


WARRINGTON Borough Council chiefs are being urged to approve the business case for the acquisition and funding of a fourth solar farm.

The council’s cabinet will on Monday, July 11 be recommended to approve the project to acquire and fund a hybrid solar farm at Partridge Hill Farm, near Doncaster, at a forecast cost of £63.5 million.

To date, the council has invested in three high-quality hybrid solar farms at York, in December 2019, Hull in October 2020 and Cirencester – currently under construction with an expected completion date this month.

A report to be presented to the cabinet by Cllr Cathy Mitchell, deputy leader of the council, points out that the council has for many years been a firm supporter of “green” and ethical investments. These have included solar panels on 3,000 Golden Gates properties and a large commercial unit on the Omega site.
In 2018 it was decided to move to the next level of green investments, looking to invest in green energy generation assets.
Approval of the project will be in line with the council’s green energy strategy and climate emergency resolution and fulfil the council’s green energy objectives which are affordability, regeneration, revenue generation, CO2 emissions reduction, security of supply and sustainability.

Cabinet members will be asked to approve the scheme to be added to the council’s capital programme with a value of up to £63.5m to be funded by way of borrowing.
They will also be asked to put in place insurance to cover all relevant risks in acquiring the solar farm and making a credit facility of £500,000 to Partridge Hill Solar Ltd.
The council would also enter into Buy Back agreements with Partridge Hill Solar Ltd.

A solar farm


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  1. Let’s be honest about this. The fact that it’s a solar farm is irrelevant – that farm will be built with or without our investment, so we’re not really enabling anything beneficial. This is a purely financial transaction – WBC hope to be able to turn a profit by investing/gambling taxpayers’ money.

    Their track record to date is poor. We don’t have much visibility, but where we do it’s been because of spectacular failures.

    Councils aren’t supposed to engage in speculation. It was tolerated for a while but central government have called time on it. We shouldn’t expect to be bailed out if this goes belly up.

    Come on, Labour councillors. Show some backbone and speak up!

    • Basically they are borrowing money at a relatively low rate of interest and lending it for a higher rate of interest. As long as the borrower manages to meet the payments this is a good deal but as Together Energy demonstrates things can, and do, go wrong. If that happens the council tax payers of Warrington may find themselves with no income but still have to pay back the money borrowed plus interest.

  2. We already own solar farms. Let’s see the books on them are they turning a profit? If they are and things are looking good it might be a good plan the problem is the total lack of transparency. Show us the books. Dont just go throwing 10s of millions at projects without taking the community on the journey with you. Can we not build one in warrington that would create local jobs??

  3. But can the Cabinet be trusted to get even the basics correct.

    We now know, because Grant Thornton tell us, that WBC could have paid £10m for a ~33%share in Redwood and instead were duped into paying £32m.
    So although the Redwood has been officially written down by £16m the truth is WBC lost £22m the minute they failed to realise and understand the effect of changing advice from all their legal advisers.

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