WARRINGTON Borough Council is set to become the first local authority in the UK to produce all of its electricity from renewable sources after pledging to build the country's 'most advanced' solar farms.

The council has secured a deal with sustainable energy company Gridserve to create the two largest solar farms to be built in the UK since 2016.

It is hoped that the project, which will see all of the council's electricity produce cleanly, will generate millions of pounds each year to 'support essential services and economic regeneration in Warrington'.

Warrington Borough Council leader Cllr Russ Bowden said: "This deal is good news for Warrington residents and good news for the environment.

"The solar farms will secure our energy supply, give us control over our energy prices, contribute to reducing fuel poverty and generate an estimated operating surplus of £150million over 30 years that can be invested back into the most important frontline services.

"Councils have a major role to play in helping to meet carbon emission reduction targets.

"These two sites are a working model that we hope other local authorities will follow."

Gridserve secured the funding for the project from Investec Bank and Leapfrog Finance last week - with the deal being announced today, Thursday.

Construction of the first hybrid solar farm and battery storage system in York will begin 'imminently', while a further solar farm in Hull will follow.

Warrington Borough Council has agreed to pay £62million for the two farms, and will take ownership of them when they are operational.

Power generated at Hull will supply all of the council's electricity needs, while that generated by the York site will be sold on the open market.

The two solar farms will generate enough green electricity for 18,000 homes each year.

READ > Naked Penketh cyclist defended by British Naturism

Toddington Harper, chief executive of Gridserve, said: "Warrington is leading the way in showing councils how solar and battery storage can help generate sustainable income to deliver vital public services, meet climate targets with clean energy and support a low carbon economy.

"These will be the most advanced solar farms in the UK and quite possibly the world - ushering in a new era of subsidy-free, truly sustainable energy.

"We’ve completely rethought the solar model - looking in detail at how to maximise value at every step - and these projects will also pioneer the use of cutting-edge technologies that serve the grid."