Disused Airfield Enters UK’s Solar Race

Electricity from the park, intended to reach 1.2 MW, would power the 70 businesses at the Westcott Venture Park, built on the site of the disused Westcott military airfield and rocket research centre, said Rockspring Property Investment Managers LLP.

The project has now won planning permission for constructing its first phase.

‘This location is absolutely perfect for a solar park,’ said Philip Wolfe, chairman of Ownergy, which is advising on the project.

‘It is an excellent use for this brownfield site. The occupiers of the Westcott Venture Park will be able to use the electricity we produce and so maximise the financial return for Rockspring. This is exactly the sort of project feed-in tariffs were designed to support.’ 

Rockspring expects to benefit from the UK’s feed-in tariff to achieve an annual return of 10%. Ownergy has carried out a feasibility study and is in the process of appointing sub-contractors.

Construction is due to start in the New Year and to complete in the spring, which puts the project among the leading contenders to become the UK’s first solar park.

Its rivals for the title include 35 Degrees’ 1 – 1.5 MW Wheal Jane project in Cornwall and a 1 MW facility planned by Ecotricity for Lincolnshire.

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