A proposal to build a £6.7million solar farm in Kilwinning that will help curb fuel poverty and reduce North Ayrshire’s carbon footprint has been given the green light.

The plans were approved by Cabinet on Tuesday and will see the farm built on the vacant council-owned former landfill site in Nethermains.

It will provide a substantial amount of clean, renewable energy to supply the local electricity grid and contribute to a reduction in fuel poverty through the availability of affordable energy.

The proposed council owned solar photovoltaic (PV) farm at Nethermains will provide 7,681MWh p/a which is approximately 34 per cent of the council’s current energy requirements.

The total net income from the Kilwinning solar PV farm over a 20-year period is estimated as £12.8m and will be reinvested in the region. 

Councillor Joe Cullinane, leader of North Ayrshire Council, said: “The climate emergency is an existential threat to our planet that requires urgent action to be taken, at all levels of government, across the globe to rapidly cut carbon emissions.

“Here in North Ayrshire we have a real chance to lead from the front and set the agenda.

“We’ve made our position clear and have set ourselves an ambitious target of having net-zero carbon emissions by 2030.

“Over the last few years we have cut our carbon emissions by 28 per cent but now is the time to ramp up our actions and that’s why we created our £8.8m Investment Fund in last year’s budget, to support initiatives that meet our net-zero ambitions whilst also bringing new income streams to the council to address the challenging budget position we face.

“The installation of a solar PV farm at Nethermains will make a positive environmental impact from an otherwise difficult to develop vacant site and will also contribute a number of positive educational and awareness raising opportunities within our communities on the importance of climate change.

“The farms give us the chance to reduce energy costs and increase revenue streams which we can pass on to our citizens and our communities. And it will also play a significant part in our ambitious net-zero carbon emissions target.

"We are delighted that we have now reached a stage where we are in a position to move forward to deliver the solar PV farm.”

As well as the Nethermains solar farm, the council is also considering the viability of developing a second one at Shewalton.