Construction works have started on the UK’s largest solar farm, a 41MW installation in West Didcot, Oxfordshire.
Upon its completion in early 2014 the development would feed into the national grid and is estimated to generate sufficient power for up to 10,000 homes as well as save 25 tonnes of carbon dioxide.
Since January 2014 construction has been in full swing, with the plant expected to be grid connected in March.
The 41MW project takes the place of the 40MW project proposed by the Science Museum and Swindon Commercial Services dubbed as the UK's largest solar farm.
The developer INRG Solar has a number of other UK projects that have already been approved for construction in the coming year.
Currently, INGR Solar are also managing the construction of a 17MW site at Turweston, Buckinghamshire, a 7MW site in Silton, Dorset, 30MW in South Wales and with a further 12 sites throughout England and Wales, which are expected for early completion in 2014. INGR Solar specialises in taking sites from early enquiry through permissions and build process then establishing a final blue chip investor to manage the project for the remaining of the 25 years of operation.
David Dean commercial manager for INRG Solar commented, "we are very pleased to see the commencement of this landmark project, it is testament to our energy engineering teams integrated approach of working closely with landowners and local communities to deliver an environmentally sustainable solar farm which not only benefits our environment but will also deliver lower energy prices for future generations."
The critical point to developing the UK’s largest solar farm was “all down to site selection”. The 200-acre, low-grade agriculture site is far away from the road and separated with a three-metre hedge screening. “It’s very secluded, with good grid access,” said Dean.
Over a variety of activities, INGR Solar has engaged the local community in the development of a “very thorough plan”. “We went beyond the call of duty,” commented Dean. INRG Solar teamed up with planning consultants, Pegasus Group, to develop a “very detailed planning application” for the 41MW solar farm, he added.
Photo: Oxford Mail