TORFAEN council has agreed to allocate funding for a new solar farm which could power around 1,000 homes in the borough.

The development at the former Ty Coch rubbish tip in Cwmbran is estimated to cost £2.45 million to build.

But these costs will be covered over its 35-year lifetime, with the project expected to bring in an additional £836,000, or £24,000 per year.

At a full meeting on Tuesday, the authority agreed to include the development in its capital budget, subject to the costs being within the agreed £2.45 million.

The solar farm will offset 21 per cent of annual carbon dioxide generated by the council, which equates to 935 tonnes per year.


Councillor Fiona Cross, cabinet member for environment, described the project as ‘innovative.’

“This is exactly the right decision that we should be making in terms of how we protect the future of our children and how we generate energy in a safe and clean way,” she said.

“If we are not the first to step out there and say this is how it is done then others can’t follow.”

Council leader, Cllr Anthony Hunt, also praised the environmental credentials of the project, describing the figures as ‘striking.’

But Independent councillor, David Thomas, said he has “grave concerns” about the scheme.

“For me the business plan is flawed,” he said.

“The numbers for the project are on a knife edge. There are too many ‘what ifs’ for this project ever to be a success or a benefit for our residents.”

However assurance was given that if costs increased, the scheme would return to the cabinet for consideration.

The council also says figures used in the business case are conservative, and that it may bring more profit.

Councillor David Daniels added that the financial profit is a “side issue”, and that the main reason for the project were the environmental benefits.

Conservative councillor Huw Bevan was also among those to welcome the scheme at Tuesday’s meeting.

With planning permission already in place, the council was due to start site clearance work this month, and will then begin tender for parts such as solar panels in February.

Further financial checks will also need to be carried out before contracts are signed.