The journey to building Bretton Hall Solar Farm

YnNi Newydd (New Energy) have an ambitious vision – to build the largest community-owned solar farm in the UK.

As a community benefit society, YnNi Newydd (Welsh for ‘New Energy’) want to build a solar farm that reduces carbon emissions while maximising the benefits to the local community. For example, any profit will be reinvested in further community energy projects or for local community benefit.

For a project of this kind, you need three things: land, a grid connection and planning permission. YnNi Newydd knew they would need support for the negotiations and legal agreements, so they asked Anthony Collins Solicitors (ACS) for help to make sure everything was done properly.

When ACS first started talking to YnNi Newydd, they were already in conversation with a small solar developer regarding an area of land straddling the England-Wales border. Of course, they knew this alone would cause its own challenges – they would need to apply for planning permission twice.

Bretton Hall Solar Farm will be one of the largest community energy schemes in the UK, generating 33 GWh of clean energy each year.

How we’re helping to introduce solar energy into this community

  • We have explored issues around two planning applications – what happens if one is granted and the other is rejected?
  • We are sharing our expertise – we have experts who specialise in working with community organisations, as well as an expert who has worked with Ofgem and colleagues who have worked with housing associations on renewable energy projects.
  • We will negotiate a commercial agreement with the solar developer who will help make the project happen.

What’s next?

Anthony Collins Solicitors are continuing to support YnNi Newydd on their journey to building Bretton Hall Solar Farm. Their planning applications have been submitted, and hopefully, these will be accepted next year.

YnNi Newydd want to enter into a temporary joint venture with the solar developer during the development period, but it needs to be community-controlled. Making sure this happens correctly will be at the heart of the negotiations.

If everything goes to plan, work will start on-site at the end of 2023, with solar panels being installed during 2024. Not only will this project generate a significant amount of renewable energy, but there will also be a positive impact on the local communities surrounding the solar farm.

“Our purpose is to improve lives, communities and society. The green agenda needs to be at the centre of that. We need everyone to be thinking about sustainability and what they can do to mitigate the impact of climate change. Projects like this have a measurable impact and also empower the local community.”

David Alcock, partner, Anthony Collins Solicitors

David Alcock
0121 214 3652

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