Manchester Council to consider purchasing its own solar farm

Manchester City Council to consider purchasing its own solar farm as part of their Climate Change Action Plan. 

Under the action plan, the council has committed to halving its direct carbon emissions by 2025. 

According to a feasibility study carried out by Local Partnerships, one way to achieve this goal would be for the council to buy a solar photovoltaic facility, also known as a solar farm. 

The estimated budget required to purchase such a facility would be between £27m and £30m, but with a lifespan of up to 40 years, the purchase would represent a good return on the investment. 

However, the feasibility study concluded that there is no suitable site for the solar farm (which would need to be around 100 hectares) in the Greater Manchester area. The council may therefore need to look elsewhere in the country. 

The other option identified is for the council to negotiate a purchase power agreement directly with a renewable energy facility so it can be confident exactly where and how its energy has been sourced. 

blue solar panel lot

It is being recommended that the council adopts a twin-track approach, forming a delivery team to develop both the solar farm acquisition and power purchase agreement options. 

A final decision will be taken later on which option to go for to meet the Council’s carbon reduction targets, or whether the answer is a combination of the two.

This is likely to depend on whether a suitable solar farm is available for sale at the right time.

Cllr Tracey Rawlins, executive member for Environment for Manchester City Council, said: ‘Some people will have a chuckle at the idea that Manchester might invest in solar power generation.

‘We’re famed for many things but, while our weather is actually better than its stereotypical image, wall to wall sunshine isn’t one of them.

‘Climate change, though, is no joke and we are determined to ensure that we take radical steps to maximise the Council’s use of renewable energy and help meet our target of at least halving our direct emissions by 2025. We are committed to playing our full part in cutting carbon emissions and limiting the effects of climate change.’

The options will be discussed at the Environment and Climate Change scrutiny committee meeting on 14 October and the Executive meeting on 20 October.

Photo by CHUTTERSNAP