We are proud to announce Blue Energy’s completion of the UK’s largest source of solar power after only 8 weeks of construction. The solar farm, now connected to the national grid, began harvesting sunlight at 4pm on 19th July 2011.
Westmill is now the location of Britain’s first combined green energy zone with power coming from the adjoining solar and wind farms located in the Wiltshire countryside. The farms will now supply the equivalent of at least 4000 homes for at least the next 25 years.
Power from the 23,000 solar panels – more than any other UK solar farm installation – began supplying electricity on July 20 with the photovoltaic plates providing an output of nearly 5 MWp of energy.
Our managing director, Chris Dean, said: “To complete the UK’s largest solar energy farm in such a short period of time is a tremendous achievement.
“We have worked successfully with several other partners around the clock to finish this unique solar project, before the government’s deadline puts an end to projects of this scale.
“The installation offsets 3,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide, it will provide power for a minimum of 25 years and from an aesthetic point of view, it is quite a sight to behold.”
We used state-of-the-art AuO solar panels from the German company Abakus, which were installed to ensure that the required 4.986MWp of energy was provided at maximum efficiency.
With the assistance of Mark Shorrock, CEO of Low Carbon Solar, which handled planning and grid application processes, we were able to achieve this remarkable feat.
Mr Shorrock said: “Westmill is a great example of how land, not suitable for agricultural use in the UK, can be harnessed for renewable energy and ensure the provision of more secure and reliable energy for the UK’s future.”
The new solar farm will be the subject of the UK’s largest community co-operative scheme later this year, giving local residents among other shareholders ownership of the unique project. This follows a similar scheme organised for Westmill Wind Farm in 2007 when 2,500 residents raised £5m to build the community owned turbines.
Share offers will be launched in October through Westmill Solar Co-operative with support from Energy 4 All, experts in community-owned renewable energy schemes. It is expected to be open for only 6 weeks and raise around £3 million offering investors the chance to invest between £250 and £20,000 with an average return of 10 per cent over 25 years.
Adam Twine, a director of Westmill Solar Co-op and who farms at Westmill Farm where the projects are situated, said: “Local ownership of a solar farm in the UK on this scale will be a first. We expect to be oversubscribed for the share offer as we were for a similar scheme involving the wind farm.
“It’s our hope that this model of local people taking positive action to address climate change and generate renewable energy effectively in their own community will be replicated across the UK.”
After completing this project we have decided as a company that Blue Energy will now focus on providing solar schemes for residential settings, following the government’s decision to curtail feed-in tariff levels associated with large-scale solar projects as of August 1.
We are currently in the process of tailoring solar energy projects with incorporated investment schemes for private dwellings across the UK, with MD Chris Dean adding that residential projects are set to begin 9th September 2011 in locations around the south of England.