Even in the depths of Winter environmentally friendly Forest Heath District Council is carbon neutral thanks to its solar farm near Lakenheath still generating energy through the short days.
The reduction in carbon comes from the investment in energy efficiency and environmentally friendly schemes such as the purchase of Toggam Solar Farm.
This week celebrates the winter solstice but even now the farm is generating electricity and income. The solar farm, which celebrated its first birthday in summer generated 11,682MWh of electricity, bringing in £1.2m of income, £308,000 net income (taking into account the capital outlay) to contribute towards funding local services.
It is one of the biggest local authority-owned solar farms in the UK, producing enough electricity to offset the carbon footprint of 1,700 cars and enough electricity to power 3,500 homes.
The carbon neutral status was highlighted and praised by councillors in the council’s Annual Report.
Not only has the solar farm helped reduce carbon but also initiatives such as the council’s solar for business roof-top solar scheme is saving a total carbon footprint of around 4,900 tonnes each year.
Councillor Stephen Edwards, Cabinet Member for Resources and Performance, said: “Forest Heath can be proud of achieving carbon neutral status. We have invested in a number of initiatives, including the highly successful Toggam Solar Farm. Even in the depth of winter the farm is providing energy and raising income to support front line services and further investment in schemes to benefit our communities. Indeed it even provides a place for sheep to graze under the solar panels. Forest Heath and West Suffolk is a unique area and we are dedicated to protecting it while investing in initiatives to manage growth and improve our local economy.”