Plans for a solar park to provide power to Torbay Hospital approved

planned location of solar park

Published: 10 May 2022

Torbay’s first Solar Park, which will be at Nightingale Park, was approved at yesterday’s Torbay Council Planning Committee.

The £3.1 million scheme will see the construction of solar panels, which will see renewable energy created for Torbay Hospital and fed from the site by an underground cable.

The scheme will also improve the wider area of Nightingale Park including improvements to the paths as well as enhancements to the area that will ensure the wildlife can continue to flourish.

Torbay Hospital will be using the power generated by the panels to support their plans to become carbon neutral.

Adrien Cooper, Interim Director of Environment for Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We welcome this important step forward in the development of the solar park and will continue to work closely and collaboratively with our Torbay Council partners as the plans progress.

“This sustainable energy source would contribute to our organisation’s green plan and increase the amount of renewable energy we use, which will bring benefits to our local communities. The NHS nationally has committed to reaching net zero carbon emissions, and it is green initiatives and innovations like this that will help us achieve our ambitions.”

Councillor Swithin Long, Cabinet Member for Economic Regeneration, Tourism and Housing at Torbay Council, said: “It is great news that the plans for a solar farm at Nightingale Park were approved by the Planning Committee. We declared a climate emergency in June 2019 and committed then to becoming a carbon neutral council, working with others to create a carbon neutral community by 2030. For us to achieve this, one of the key things we need to do is change the way we power our homes and businesses, and this scheme is a positive step towards us achieving that target. By assisting Torbay Hospital with power generated by these solar panels means it will become one of the greenest hospitals in the country”

Councillor Darren Cowell, Deputy Leader of Torbay Council, said: “Not only are we supporting the hospital in their plans to become carbon neutral, as well as providing any extra energy to the National Grid, these plans are also providing enhancements to the park so the community can continue to enjoy the open space. This project will see improvements to the circular walk by widening the paths as well as improving them so they can be used in all weathers and all year round. Exercise equipment will also be placed at various points around the circular track and improvement to other footpaths in the woodlands will also be made. More hedgerows will also be put in to help and improve the already existing wildlife.” 

Nightingale Park is a former landfill site which was in use from the 1950’s until the 1980’s. This solar park will provide 3.2 megawatt peak of power and can provide energy for approximately 25 years. The solar panels will cover approximately 3.9 hectares within a secure fenced area extending the area to 5.82 hectares, equivalent to seven football pitches. This area will be monitored by CCTV. The buildings needed to accompany the panels include a transformer kiosk and switch gear kiosk.