The Howbery Business Park, in Wallingford, Oxfordshire, has today (July 27) been connected to the National Grid with 3000 solar panels helping to power it.

The ground-mounted solar array is expected to generate more than 682MWh of clean electricity a year for the park which is an engineering, environmental, water research and development centre.

The solar installation, 748kWp in size, is one of the first large scale ground-mounted systems of its kind to be connected to the National Grid under the Government’s Feed-in Tariffs (FITs) scheme.

Photovoltaic panels will power more than a quarter of the business park and save in excess of 350 tonnes of CO2 emissions every year.

Developed by HR Wallingford, based at the park, and Lightsource Renewable Energy; the solar installation was funded by Octopus Investments and local private investor Andrew Troup.

The engineering, procurement and construction was carried by Solarcentury, who built similar parks in Europe, but say this is its first to be built in the UK after the government introduced a solar FIT in 2010.

HR Wallingford chief executive, John Ormston, said: “Howbery Business Park is proud of its green credentials.

“A centre of excellence with two highly sustainable, BREEAM Excellent rated office buildings and an operational Green Travel Plan, we are committed to leading the way in renewable energy and are proud to be showcasing the UK’s first solar business park.

“Howbery BusinessPark will be one of only a few business parks in the UK where occupiers areable to secure a direct electrical supply from a solar array.”

Solarcentury chief executive, Derry Newman, said: “The solar at Howbery Business Park provides a glimpse of how this technology can contribute to our clean energy future, hinting at the serious role solar power can play in our energy mix.

“It’s fantastic such a progressive and world class R&D centre continues to lead the way, now powered by 21st Century energy. Solar is 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.”

Luke Walsh

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