Hawthorn Pit

Solar Farm

Aura Power is working on a solar farm proposal between Murton and South Hetton, with a capacity of up to 49.9MW (Megawatts).  The solar farm will be built without subsidy and would generate enough clean electricity to power the equivalent of over 17,000 homes, saving around 15,203 tonnes of CO2 from entering the atmosphere each year.

County Durham has set a target to become carbon neutral by 2050 and this solar farm will help meet this target. Hawthorn Pit Solar Farm will not only increase the supply of clean power, as solar is the lowest cost form of new energy generation it will also help to reduce national power prices.

The scheme includes a number of landscaping proposals to enhance the natural environment, offering a biodiversity net gain of over 200%.

As a local business, our solar farm will be contributing over £80,000 in business rates to County Durham Council every year.

We are also offering a Community Benefit Fund of £400 per MW per year (index-linked), for the lifetime of the solar farm. This could amount to £20,000 a year for 35 years totalling £700,000 in total, used locally for social and environmental projects. A proportion would be set aside for educational sessions with local schools and site visits to the solar farm.

Latest News

25th May 23 - The appeal has been allowed and  planning permission granted. We will continue to work with the local community through the next phases of the development.

It should be noted that National Grid is currently consulting on plans for a converter station and substation nearby at Hawthorn Pit. This will help increase the distribution of green electricity and more information on their plans can be found by clicking here. These plans are separate to Aura Power’s proposed solar farm and there is no connection between us.

Durham County Council planning application number DM/21/03420/FPA


June 2021

Public Consultation Webinar

Nov 2021

Design Finalised, Planning Application Submitted

July 2022

Planning Decision. Councillors voted to refuse the planning application. We are now appealing the decision.

May 2023

The appeal was allowed and planning permission granted.

Key Facts & Benefits


equivalent number of homes powered every year

Stated figure is calculated using BEIS ‘Sub-national electricity consumption statistics 2019’ (latest publish Dec 2020) which reports an average domestic consumption per County Durham Household of 3168 kwh


tonnes of CO2 saved every year

Calculated using the UK Government Gas Conversion Factor, BEIS, 2020 of 0.2773 Tonnes Carbon/MWh. NV Calculations based on the PV Syst generation report for the proposed layout


equivalent number of electric cars powered per year

Calculated using an average mileage of 15,000 km per year and an average power consumption of 15kWh

Contributes to local and national targets
Construction and supply chain jobs
£20,000 annual Community Benefit Fund
Local School Visits
Over £80,000 in business rates to County Durham Council every year
Listening to the views of the local community is very important to us and your feedback has helped shape our design. Since presenting our initial plans live on Tuesday 8th June 2021 we have taken onboard the feedback received and have subsequently made significant revisions to our design. You can see these changes in the image at the bottom of this page.
The revisions include:
  • 40-acre removal of panels to the north of the site, increasing the setback from residences in Murton; and
  • Tree line planted and positioned in a more elevated location to provide more effective screening

We continue to welcome discussions with local residents regarding any concerns they may have.

You can view the webinar presented on Tuesday 8th June by clicking here.


Our Proposal

We have undertaken several environmental and visual surveys to help inform our design. Our proposal offers a number of ecological and local benefits as well as continued agricultural use, with sheep being able to graze beneath the panels.

We always aim to design our solar farms appropriately and as sensitively as possible to the surroundings whilst maximising the generation of clean energy.

The design includes a number of landscaping proposals including new tree and hedgerow planting to enhance the natural environment and make it a better place for wildlife, offering a biodiversity net gain of over 200%.

View the site location on Google maps by clicking here.

Revisions to the site following consulting with the local community can be seen in the image below.

Why Here?

This site has been selected for a number of reasons which include:

  • Proximity to local electricity network with existing electrical infrastructure already on site
  • Substantial generation capacity already secured
  • Opportunity to boost biodiversity
  • No landscape designations
  • Good levels of solar irradiation in this part of the country

Projected Views

Contact Us

Your feedback is very important to us. Please leave a comment and one of our project team will get back to you as soon as possible.

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