North East property and energy firm the Banks Group is set to move into solar energy development for the first time.
The County Durham-headquartered employer’s renewable energy division, Banks Renewables, has revealed plans for a 5MW solar photo voltaic (PV) scheme on part of the site of its existing Penny Hill wind farm in South Yorkshire.
And the family-owned business is now looking for further sites on which solar PV projects might be constructed.
Banks Renewables has so far built seven wind farms across Northern England and Scotland, with the most recent to be commissioned being located at Heysham in Lancashire.
It has planning permissions for further onshore schemes with capacity in excess of 190MW, which it intends to construct over the next five years, and it also has planning applications at various stages of development for onshore wind farms with capacity exceeding 250MW.
Preparatory work on the construction of its next scheme, the five-turbine Hook Moor wind farm in West Yorkshire, has recently commenced, and it is scheduled to be fully operational before the end of the year.
The Banks Group currently employs around 400 people across its Renewables, Mining and Property divisions, and has offices in Meadowfield and West Cornforth in County Durham, Chesterfield in Derbyshire and Hamilton in Scotland.
Phil Dyke, development director at Banks Renewables, says: “How we generate the energy that we all use to power our homes, businesses, schools and hospitals in the future, and how we increase the proportion that is produced via renewable means are significant challenges facing the UK.
“Using a mix of different energy generation technologies has to be the way forward, and having established a strong portfolio of onshore wind schemes, we’re now looking to extend Banks Renewables’ operations into the solar PV sector.
“As with all our schemes, our first solar PV project is being designed to bring a range of benefits to the community in which it will be sited, including new jobs, local supply chain opportunities and substantial community funding that will make a major long-term difference to the facilities available for local residents to enjoy.
“We have a number of possible locations in mind for further solar PV schemes, and we believe there is every opportunity to use the Banks Renewables team’s wide-ranging experience and expertise to build a strong new strand to our operations over the coming years.”
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