Chamber House Solar Farm Powers Up

Power up! Heywood flicks the switch on major new solar farm

The largest publicly owned solar farm in Greater Manchester has powered up in Heywood.

The 10 hectare site at Chamber House, which secured just over £3m funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), is now switched on.

The electricity produced, which, at 5.5 megawatts of electricity, would be enough to power 2,000 homes, will be supplied to the national grid. It will be used to offset the council’s annual energy bill, potentially saving the authority thousands of pounds a year.

In addition to saving over 2,300 tonnes of carbon emissions a year, the solar farm is also bringing extra environmental benefits, with a huge planting scheme taking place across the site. More than 8,000 hedges, trees and plants have been planted as well as wildflower seeding to increase biodiversity, alongside the installation of bird boxes and wildlife habitats to encourage animal life-cycles to continue to thrive.

“This project is a really important step forward in our fight against climate change and means Rochdale will be more than playing its part in helping to deliver Greater Manchester’s pledge to become net zero by 2038. These types of innovative clean and green projects are really important and I know we are looking at delivering more of them in the future.”

Councillor Tricia Ayrton, Rochdale Borough Council

Vital Energi got the local community involved during the build, arranging mock interviews for local schoolchildren, presenting climate education workshops, holding site tours and offering work experience and local apprenticeship opportunities.

Chamber House Solar Farm was delivered by Rochdale Development Agency (RDA) in partnership with the council. This solar farm forms one of a number of  projects being delivered under the ERDF funded Unlocking Clean Energy within Greater Manchester (UCEGM) umbrella project led by Energy Systems Catapult (ESC).

“Greater Manchester have some extremely ambitious net zero targets and Chamber House Solar Farm will be a great addition to their renewable energy infrastructure, generating clean electricity for decades to come. Not only that, but we were able to make significant improvements to the land in areas such as planting and drainage, making it a truly sustainable project.”

David Oatt, Regional Manager, Vital Energi