A new solar farm in County Durham is set to save money and reduce emissions.

Located near Tanfield Lea Industrial Estate and commissioned by Durham County Council, the facility will provide a significant proportion of the electricity required to run the nearby Comeleon House council base. The farm’s 800 panels will provide 213,000kWh per year.

Cllr Carl Marshall, cabinet member for economic regeneration, said: “Durham County Council declared a Climate Change Emergency and set ambitious targets to reduce carbon emissions. We also promised to investigate what further actions will be needed to make County Durham carbon neutral by 2050. The solar farm is one result of that promise, providing an efficient and effective alternative to the running of Comeleon house, an important hub for us.”

Oliver Sherratt, Durham County Council’s head of environment, said: “We are continually looking for ways to adapt to a greener future and to fulfil our carbon management plan, which aims to reduce our carbon footprint by 60 per cent from 2008/09 levels by 2030. Currently we’re well on our way; our latest figures, from 2018/19 show that carbon emissions have reduced by 47 per cent from 2008/09 levels.

“Comeleon House requires large amounts of electricity each year but the new measure, together with the existing solar panels on the roof, is estimated to meet about 18 per cent of the building’s electricity needs.”

In addition, horses which once occupied the field where the panels are installed have been relocated, encouraging the re-growth of wildflowers and grasses to be enjoyed by the local bees. The council’s ecologists are also developing plans to ensure the land around the farm is maintained for the benefit of the local wildlife and in keeping with the neighbouring nature reserve.