RES launches PV development

RES has announced that it has been appointed to develop a 5MW ground-mounted photovoltaic (PV) project at the Royal Bath and West of England Showground in Shepton Mallet, Somerset.

This project is part of a wide ranging £100m Regeneration Initiative at the Royal Bath and West being led by regeneration specialist London & Wharfedale. RES was appointed following a competitive process and as an intrinsic part of the redevelopment plans. The contract value is in excess of £13m and when complete will add to the more than 5,000MW of renewable projects that they have developed to date.

The PV project will cover 11 hectares of brownfield land and will save over 2,500 tonnes of CO2 annually as part of a strategy to create a ‘better than carbon neutral’ development. Further renewable technologies will be incorporated into the development and linked into a visitor and learning centre. RES Enterprises, which manages the solar division of the RES Group, has commenced development activities and a planning application will be submitted shortly. It is anticipated that subject to a successful planning outcome, the project will be operational later this year.

David Povall, CEO of RES Enterprises, commented: “We are delighted to be playing an important role in kick starting this regeneration initiative. PV technology can make an increasingly important contribution to meeting the UK’s carbon reduction targets and large-scale projects like this, in particular, can contribute significantly to rural regeneration, in line with current Government objectives. We hope that the recent review announced by Government of the Feed-in Tariff for PV projects over 50kW will conclude that appropriately-located and locally-supported exemplar projects of this kind deserve continued support in recognition of the economic and low carbon benefits they will bring.”

First steps

Dr Jane Guise, Chief Executive of the Royal Bath & West of England Society said: “This is an exciting first step towards re-invigorating our events centre, not only for our efforts to promote agriculture, but also for all those who make their living by using our facilities. Driven by home produced energy we will be a centre of choice for new business, in a relatively remote rural location. It heralds the start of a long-held ambition to be able to make much more of a difference to rural businesses old and new – the forgotten sector which tends to underpin the economy when times are tough. This is a hard-won landmark by the creation of a powerful triumvirate.”

The Royal Bath and West Showground, located 3km south of Shepton Mallet, is an important regional venue for shows and events, attracting over one million visitors every year and contributes over £175m to the economy. It is owned by the Royal Bath and West Society and provides a significant contribution to the local and wider economy as a visitor destination and is an important asset to the farming and rural communities.

The Regeneration Initiative includes up to 15,0000sq ft of visitor destination retail, two hotels, business uses and a renewable energy centre of excellence and learning, all focussed on the rural economy and with at least 1,500 jobs being created on the 260 acre site. This provides a much needed economic boost to the region.

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