840MW Botley West solar project launches first phase of public consultation. Image: Pxfuel NC.

Proposals have been brought forward by Photovolt Development Partners (PVDP) for the creation of a solar project in Botley West, Oxfordshire, which could deliver 840MW of clean energy to National Grid.

PVDP has launched the first phase of community consultation for Botley West. The developer said it is welcoming feedback from the communities across the site areas and is committed to undertaking a transparent and rigorous consultation process.

The project will have a proposed generation capacity of over 50MW and thus will be classified as a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP). Because of this, PVDP will make an application to the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) for a development consent order (DCO). This could be submitted by the end of 2023.

“PVDP has over 18 years of experience developing solar farms across Europe and Japan and are committed to delivering clean, affordable energy generation in the UK,” said a spokesperson for Photovolt Development Partners.

“We are working with industry-leading experts to design an environmentally led project for Botley West that will deliver significant benefits for habitats and wildlife as well as creating new recreational access for local people. We encourage the local community to provide their feedback and come along to our consultation events.”

The project will be split across three sites situated in Cherwell, West Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse. PVDP has been working with both landowners and landlords to support the project in the local area and support its renewable journey. This includes Blenheim Estate in which PVDP is working to ensure the plans are aligned with the landowners’ long-term strategies.

“The climate emergency must be a focus for us all today. As a landed Estate we are uniquely positioned to take positive action in protecting future generations. We believe this Nationally Significant proposal for solar, led by Photovolt Development Partners, will help to safeguard this area and support global efforts to reduce carbon emissions and our reliance on fossil fuels,” said Dominic Hare, CEO at Blenheim Palace.

Another solar farm to have been classified as an NSIP is NRG Solar’s 150MWp NSIP Little Crow Solar Farm which received planning consent in April 2022.

At the time, it was the second solar NSIP to be granted such by the Planning Inspectorate, following on from the 350MW Cleve Hill Solar Farm, which was approved in May 2020. That has since been acquired by Quinbrook and renamed Project Fortress.