Businesses invited to bid to build and run Oldham's new solar farm

Date published: 19 March 2024

Oldham Council is inviting businesses to tender for a £1.2 million contract to deliver a major new solar farm in the borough.

The site at Wrigley Head, Failsworth, is the council’s first solar farm and is a key project in the Green New Deal - its strategy to make Oldham Council buildings carbon neutral by 2025, followed by the whole borough by 2030.

The council has now launched a tender process, inviting interested businesses to design, build, operate and maintain the 1MW site for 20 years.

Cllr Abdul Jabbar MBE, Cabinet Member for Finance and Corporate Resources, said: "This is a really exciting opportunity for green technology businesses to get involved in a pioneering project in Greater Manchester.

"The solar farm will create green energy which is capable of creating enough electricity to power the equivalent of around 750 homes at one time.

"It will transform the land, which was previously a derelict site, giving it a new sustainable purpose which will boost the environment and biodiversity.

"It will also reduce our reliance on fossil fuels giving the council cheaper energy bills that stay low - unlike gas prices, meaning we have more money to spend on front-line services.

"We were the first council in the UK to adopt a Green New Deal and we are aiming to be the greenest borough in Greater Manchester. 

"This new solar farm is just one of many green projects we have planned, and an added plus is that it will be the first subsidy-free local authority owned solar farm in Greater Manchester.

"This is your chance to play a key role in this exciting programme."

With construction planned to start in September, the council requires a contractor who can review the outline design for the ground-mounted solar PV array and improve upon it, taking into account developments in new technology and any other factors.

The new design will need to be agreed with the council, planning authority and any other key stakeholders.

Following this, the contractor will then construct, operate and maintain the installation for up to 20 years.

The net value of the contract is £1.2m.

Interested parties can view the tender documents on the council's procurement portal The Chest at:

The solar farm opportunity comes as Oldham Council secured £8.7 million in grant funding to support plans to create a low carbon district heat network for Oldham town centre.

These unique systems use local sources of eco-friendly heat which would otherwise go to waste.

In Oldham, we could use air, wastewater, minewater and biomass.

Heat networks distribute heat from a central source and deliver it to different buildings including shops, offices and homes.

By supplying multiple places, they avoid the need for individual boilers or electric heaters in every building.

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