Cornwall Council plans solar energy farm

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Cornwall Council has taken the first steps towards creating a solar energy farm in the county.

It has approved a business case for the £14m project whereby panels would be put up near Newquay Airport.

Cabinet members were told that it would pay for itself in 10 years and for 15 years would bring an annual income of between £1.5m and £1.9m.

It would benefit from the feed-in tariff guaranteeing long-term payments for renewable energy.

The feed-in tariff scheme, introduced in April, rewards people for generating power from renewable sources such as the sun, wind and waves.

'Huge opportunity'

Under the scheme energy suppliers have to make regular payments to householders and groups who generate their own electricity from renewable or low carbon sources.

The tariff is paid for 25 years and increases in line with inflation.

It has resulted in an increase in householders installing solar panels in the UK.

Council leader Alec Robertson said: "This is a huge opportunity for the council, not just financially in terms of generating income that can be spent on front line services, but also in terms of our green ambitions."

The solar energy farm could be the first of its kind in the UK to be owned and operated by a local authority, Julian German, cabinet member for climate change, told his colleagues.

Cornwall Council is committed to becoming energy self-sufficient by 2025.

The issue will now be discussed by the full council.

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