Weaveley Solar Park set to make Blenheim Estate a net generator of green energy
Blenheim Estate has resumed work on its new solar park on land northeast of Woodstock, which is scheduled to be completed by Christmas, with power generation set to begin in early 2024.
The Weaveley solar park, which will have a 30 year lifespan, is the first to have been built by Blenheim Estate as part of its commitments to become net zero by 2027. This project will see the UNESCO World Heritage Site become a net generator of green energy (producing more than it uses) – one of its 10 goals announced in 2017 which it would deliver over a 10 year period.
Once completed, the 20 acre site will be capable of producing seven megawatts of clean, renewable energy – enough to power over 2500 homes over a year. Farming will take place in and around the panels and the site will also benefit from incredible biodiversity, thanks to a number of measures including the flower and nectar rich mixes already sown, wild bee habitats and thriving hedges for food and shelter.
Roy Cox, managing director – estates, commented: ‘This land previously had zero biodiversity and was exhausted from years of intensive farming. When finished we will not only be producing green energy but creating an incredibly biodiverse environment in and around the panels. At the right times of year, you will see Blenheim sheep grazing amongst the solar panels and to inform those daily decisions we are also pioneering cutting edge sensor networks to measure thermal efficiency, monitor and understand ecosystems and through open source live data show how these are performing as the field regenerates itself.’
The Blenheim Estate project team features a myriad of sector experts, each contributing to the site’s future plans.
Work on the solar park had initially begun in late 2021, but was paused due to connectivity issues with Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks which has now been resolved.
The solar park is being built on behalf of Blenheim by Bouygues E&S Solutions Ltd, a leader in the development and construction of utility scale solar power plants and other low carbon and renewable schemes.