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A SOLAR farm planned for Swansea’s Tir John landfill site could more than treble in size when it’s full of rubbish.

The council’s cabinet has approved the financing of a three-megawatt solar farm on 17 acres of the 107-acre Port Tennant site.

“Once the whole site is full there is the potential for us to consider expanding this site to a 10-megawatt (solar) farm,” said Cllr Andrea Lewis, cabinet member for homes, energy and service transformation.

She said the council would be liaising with people in the area about the three-megawatt proposal, and that community benefits would be explored where possible.

Fellow cabinet member Cllr Clive Lloyd, whose ward includes Port Tennant, said the area had been blighted by heavy industry in past decades.

He said: “It has been a lot of taking from Eastside and not a lot of giving back.”

A solar farm, he said, would be a welcome change from the likes of the previous United Black Black factory and Tir John power station.

The report before cabinet said it would take around 20 years for the sale of the electricity generated by the solar farm to cover building costs, although no building costs were given. The life expectancy of the facility is 25 to 30 years, and it is expected to be up and running in two years’ time.

The council has a target of reducing the carbon footprint of its buildings and assets by 3% per year, and has an ambition to be carbon-neutral by 2030.

Cardiff Council is building a nine-megawatt solar farm at a landfill site. Other authorities are pursuing similar schemes.

Operations at Tir John are sub-contracted to a third party, Enovert, until 2022.

The landfill site is expected to be full in two to three years’ time.

Around 37,000 tonnes of household waste is taken to Tir John every year, and there is a question as to what will happen to it once the gates are shut.

This subject was aired in a council scrutiny meeting last October, where Cllr Mark Thomas, cabinet member for environment enhancement and infrastructure management, said he expected to have an answer within 12 months.

The options, he said, were councils in south west Wales clubbing together to build an energy-from-waste plant, or commissioning an external provider to build one, or for Swansea to send its black bag waste to an existing energy-from-waste facility in Wales.

Matthew Perkins, Swansea’s group leader for waste management, said at the scrutiny meeting: “We could build a plant for 30,000 to 40,000 tonnes but it would be stupidly expensive.”

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