Exciting plans for build a Council-owned solar farm are gathering pace.

The tender specification for design and installation of the solar photovoltaic (PV) farm at Nethermains on the outskirts of Kilwinning has now been published.

And it is hoped that if all goes according to schedule, construction could get under way within the year on the ambitious project.

Once complete, the solar PV farm – which forms a key element of the Council’s Climate Strategy – is expected to generate around 34 per cent of the Council’s energy needs and provide a financial surplus of around £13million that can be reinvested in North Ayrshire.

Once the tender period closes on July 23, the bid evaluation process will get under way with the outcome finalised later this summer.

The Solar PV farm proposals will help North Ayrshire Council become one of the first local authorities in the country to reach net-zero carbon emissions within the next decade.

Not only will it provide a substantial amount of clean, renewable energy to supply the local electricity grid, it will also contribute to a reduction in fuel poverty through the availability of affordable energy.

Yvonne Baulk, Head of Service (Physical Environment), said: “We are very excited by the plans to transform what is currently a vacant, former landfill site into a state-of-the-art facility providing clean energy and reducing our carbon emissions.

“In the last few years, we have taken great strides as a Council to lead by example in efforts to curb climate change and have reduced our own carbon emissions by more than 28 per cent through a wide range of carbon reduction projects.

“We have set our own ambitious target of having net-zero carbon emissions by 2030 – we all have a part to play, and we absolutely intend to fulfil ours.”

As well as the Nethermains solar farm, the Council is also considering the viability of developing a second facility at Shewalton. Plans are still at an early stage, and the Council is working with colleagues at Strathclyde University to develop the plans.