Construction is now underway at the Wroughton Airfield Solar Park near Swindon, and the project is due to be connected to the grid by the end of March.
The project is a joint development between Public Power Solutions (PPS), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Swindon Borough Council, and the Science Museum Group, which owns the former World War 2 airfield. Supported by the Museum, PPS secured the grid connection and took the 50 MW project through the lengthy planning process.
The plans include strong community and biodiversity benefits. James Owen, Commercial Director, Public Power Solutions, said: “It’s great news that the construction of the farm is now underway. I’m really pleased that the end is in sight and that by the spring, Wroughton Airfield Solar Park will be generating enough clean electricity to supply over 15,400 homes. Throughout the process we have been overwhelmed by the exceptionally strong support from the local community and local people will soon be given the opportunity to invest directly in the solar park.”
Matt Moore, Head of Wroughton Site, Science Museum Group, said: “We’re really pleased to see the solar park taking shape. This solar farm effectively puts more electricity into the national grid, from one of our sites, than we use as an organisation, and provides a secure reliable income to help us continue our work conserving the extraordinary objects in our collections.
As well as offering the community the chance to invest directly in the site, a community benefit fund for Wroughton will be set up which will amount to around £50,000 a year, for the next 30 years, to be allocated by the community for local projects. A sustainable programme of ecological and biodiversity enhancements will be established around the solar park.
PPS has now developed over 65MW of ground-mounted solar in Swindon and nearby, and is rolling out its expertise and experience to help other public sector organisations who want to make the most of their renewable energy assets.