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Proposed Solar Farm on our Estate could power every home in Oxfordshire

Our Estate in Oxfordshire could become home to the UK’s most powerful solar farm with the capacity to generate electricity for more than 330,000 homes.

If approved the proposed development of Botley West Solar Farm would have the capacity to generate 840 MW of clean affordable electricity to the National Grid. For context, that would be enough to power every home in Oxfordshire.

In 2020, we declared a climate emergency and identified global warming as the biggest threat to our Estate’s long-term survival.

“We all recognise we are in an energy crisis and currently rely heavily on countries beyond our shores for our energy, which is at a premium and shows little sign of getting any better,” said our Chief Executive, Dominic Hare.

“As we contribute our land to this project, we do so knowing it could deliver enough clean energy to power 330,000 homes, enough to power every home in Oxfordshire, whilst supporting our collective declarations in the battle against the climate emergency.

“It is our belief the climate emergency must be a focus for us all today. At Blenheim we are uniquely positioned to take action to protect future generations and support global efforts to reduce carbon emissions, but also focus on the impact to our local area.

“We are proud to make ambitious steps like this project to help the UK’s energy needs today and in doing so fight climate change for the generations who follow us,” he added.

Sitting in approximately 1,000 hectares, the solar farm would be constructed by Photovolt Development Partners (PVDP) who have a track record of delivering large-scale solar projects in Europe and Japan.

They are launching an initial six-week public consultation where people can find out more about the solar farm, ask questions and share their views.

A spokesperson for PVDP, said: “PVDP have over 18 years of experience developing solar farms and are committed to delivering clean, affordable energy generation in the UK. 

“We are working with industry-leading experts to design an environmentally led project for Botley West that will deliver significant benefits for habitats and wildlife as well as creating new recreational access for local people. 

“We encourage the local community to provide their feedback and come along to our consultation events,” they added.

The proposal aims to deliver significant new native woodland and hedgerow planting, the creation of new greenways, cycle routes and footpaths along with initiatives to boost biodiversity. 

Solar farms are temporary installations, where panels usually sit below the hedge lines with a typical lifespan of between 35 and 40 years. Following the end of Botley West’s operation, the solar equipment would be removed, and the site returned to agricultural use.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has identified solar as a key renewable resource to tackle high energy prices and reduce our reliance and fossil fuels in the long term.

In addition to the project, we are also committed to addressing the climate emergency by setting our own individual goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2027, and to sequester over 200,000 tonnes CO2e by 2050.