Prison solar power plan moves forward

Grendon Springhill solar panel
Grendon Springhill solar panel

Plans to power HMP Grendon and HMP Spring Hill with a field of almost 13,000 solar panels have been approved in principle.

Members of Aylebury Vale District Council’s cabinet discussed the groundbreaking scheme at a meeting on Tuesday last week, and have asked for more information pending final approval.

The decision is expected to be made at another cabinet meeting over the next few weeks.

Under the plans, almost 13,000 solar panels could be used to help power the two prisons.

The panels are due to be installed in two fields next door to HMP Grendon, and would provide daytime electricity for the prison and the neighbouring HMP Spring Hill for 25 years.

HMP Grendon and HMP Spring Hill are jointly managed.

If plans are given the go-ahead, the panels could be installed before May next year.

It is thought the project will be funded with the help of Government incentives.

The array would not be able to provide all the prisons’ power needs in the night or during a surge in demand.

Both prisons have their own generators that can be used at such times.

Any excess daytime energy could be sold for use on the national grid.

It is hoped the project could provide work opportunities for prisoners at HMP Spring Hill, who could help move panels and frames across the site.

If AVDC’s cabinet approves the project, planning permission would still need to be granted.

The council’s lease of the land would also need to be agreed, as well as a charging rate for energy generated.

HMP Spring Hill, which prepares prisoners for release, is between the villages of Edgcott and Grendon Underwood.