Westcott Venture Park plans ten-fold PV expansion in unsubsidised project

Westcott Venture Park is set to start construction this summer on a 15MWp PV array covering 76 acres, claimed as the UK’s first unsubsidised industrial solar park.

Westcott Venture Park’s owner, Rockspring, said it also planned to secure  grid capacity to add battery storage to the site. The company estimates the solar development will deliver an internal rate of return greater than 7%.

Westcott already has a 1.6MW solar plant, connected under the Fit regime in 2011 and developed by WolfeWare, which will also oversee the new scheme. BSR EPC has been selected to deliver a fully-wrapped engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) solution for the project. It will also handle O&M.

“Unsubsidised solar is still in the early stages of development but our integrated delivery model gives us a head-start in delivering this and future projects,” said Graham Harding, managing director of BSR Group. “We are delighted to be collaborating with WolfeWare and Rockspring to deliver this pioneering site at Westcott.”

Philip Wolfe, founder of WolfeWare, said: “This project demonstrates that, even in the UK, solar power continues to close in on ‘grid parity’; the level at which it competes with traditional electricity generation.”

Westcott Venture Park, on 650-acres between Bicester and Aylesbury, is owned by Rockspring Hanover Property Unit Trust and is home to 76 businesses. It has ambitious development plans, including growth in the commercial spaceflight sector and links to the UK’s forthcoming spaceport.

In 2011, Westcott established its first 1.6MWp subsidised solar park. The new project will represent a ten-fold increase, producing over 14.5GWh/year with a (25 year) lifetime yield in excess of 340GWh.

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