PLANS for a solar farm near Llantrisant which could produce enough energy to power more than 2,500 homes are set to be decided.
An application from Talgren Solar Limited proposes the construction and operation of a solar farm, including access, fencing, CCTV, internal service tracks, ancillary equipment and landscaping at Rhiwfelin Fawr Farm.
It would cover about 4.3 hectares and generate up to 9.9 megawatts of electricity, enough to power about 2,600 homes and offset nearly 2,850 tonnes of carbon each year.
Primary access will be via the farm’s existing access, with a secondary one proposed off Pantybrad, which would serve the substation but the plans say this would be used on an ad-hoc basis for maintenance and repair works.
The scheme would also include landscaping works and biodiversity enhancement measures.
The planning report said the development had purposely been kept out of any high ecologically valued habitat and very little site clearance will be required.
The solar farm will connect to the local distribution network at an existing substation about 1.3km to the south along the A4119 (Ely Valley Road). The cable from the site to the substation would be below ground and would largely run within the highways.
The solar farm is planned to be operational for 40 years, after which it would be decommissioned and all equipment removed, returning to site to its former condition and use.
There were concerns raised by the council’s ecologist and Natural Resources Wales (NRW) relating to the site’s proximity to the Rhos Tonyrefail Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and the potential impacts it could have.
As a result, the scheme was amended with 1.4 hectares of the solar panels nearest the SSSI relocated.
There were no public representations received in relation to the application.
Planning officers have recommended approval, saying: “The provision of a solar farm in this location will result in a positive contribution to Welsh Government renewable energy targets and will provide clean, renewable energy to the benefit of all Rhondda Cynon Taf residents, as well as providing clear environmental benefits.
“While it is accepted the proposed development will inevitably result in a degree of impact to the character and appearance of the area, subject to appropriate conditions/mitigation, it is not considered any potential impact would be significant enough to warrant refusal of the application.”
They said appropriate biodiversity mitigation and enhancement measures would be implemented to ensure there is no detriment to biodiversity or ecology on and around the site or any impact to the SSSI, and these measures can be controlled through conditions and a Section 106 agreement.
They said: “Through the proposed measures, there is actually capacity for the development to evidence some ecological enhancement at the site. There would be no undue impact to the amenity levels currently enjoyed by the closest neighbouring residents, and the impact of the scheme upon highway safety and land drainage can be suitably mitigated.”
The application is due to go before Rhondda Cynon Taf council’s planning committee on Thursday, January 25.