UK’s first solar business park connects to the grid

27 Jun 2011

A business park in Oxfordshire in the UK has today connected up to the national grid with 3,000 solar panels, claiming to be the country’s first solar-powered business park.

The ground-mounted solar array at Howbery Business Park in Wallingford, Oxfordshire, is expected to generate more than 682MWh of clean energy a year for its 20-tenant organisations, which between them specialise in engineering, environmental and water research and development.

The solar installation, which is 748kWp in size, has been connected to the grid under the UK’s solar feed-in tariff scheme. It will power more than a quarter of the business park and save more than 350 tonnes of CO2 emissions a year, according to Solarcentury, the company that built the solar array.

Solarcentury has built similar parks in Europe, but says this is its first to be built in the UK under the solar feed-in tariff scheme. Solarcentury and its partners are building two more “significant” solar arrays, which are due to connect to the grid next month.

However, these could be the biggest solar farms to be built in the UK for some time. On 9 June last, the UK government confirmed its review of solar feed-in tariffs, so from August this will mean 70pc reductions in payments to large-scale solar photovoltaic installations that generate more than 50kW of power.

Speaking today, Derry Newman, CEO, Solarcentury, said solar was not to be underestimated: “It is the fastest-growing energy technology in the world, simply because it is clean, reliable and a readily available alternative to fossil fuels.”

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic