RWE Supply & Trading, the German utility's trading arm, has completed its first solar farm project in the UK, a 37MW development on a disused airfield in Oxfordshire.
The 52-hectare Kencot Hill solar site is located on brownfield land on a disused airfield 19 miles from Oxford city centre. The farm’s 144,000 solar modules are predicted to generate around 36 million kWh of electricity in its first year of operation – enough to power 10,000 local homes.
RWE provided financial and technical support for the project, with the UK arm of Conergy taking care of the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) of the solar farm. The utility giant has agreed to sell the completed project to Foresight Solar Fund with Conergy continuing to operate and maintain the asset.
In order to screen the 37MW solar farm from the local area Conergy planted over six hectares of woodland in addition to installing and reinforcing around two miles of hedgerows.
Robert Goss, managing director at Conergy UK, explained why large PV developments on brownfield land are appropriate, he said: “Large solar plants in the right places, like Kencot Hill, already allow thousands of people to run their washing machines and recharge their iPhones.
“They don’t think about where the electricity comes from, but when they’re asked what kind of power they want, most say solar. There are plenty of brownfield sites left in Britain, and a temporary invisible solar farm will always be more popular with the locals than a new housing estate or giant nuclear power station.”
The developer claims that the solar farm, located in David Cameron’s constituency, will mitigate the emission of over 250,000 tonnes of CO2 over the site’s 24-year project lifetime.