A new solar farm has opened in Widnes and will provide power to DCBL Stadium, the home of rugby league club Widnes Vikings.

The local authority, Halton Borough Council, has completed construction of the one-megawatt farm, which has opened on former derelict brownfield land.

A private wire will connect the farm to the 13,000-seat stadium, which will use around 45 per cent of the energy generated. The remainder will be exported to the grid.

The solar farm will feature more than 3,000 panels and is set to generate around 850,000kwh of electricity a year. The farm will help reduce the carbon footprint of the council, which claims it will save around 120 tonnes of CO2 per year and over 3,000 tonnes over the lifetime of the project.

The local council is also exploring the possibility of extending the farm and connecting it to a nearby new leisure centre. The project has cost around £1.2m (€1.3m/$1.5m) and has been part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), with the council providing the remainder of the cost.

Scottish company Absolute Solar and Wind designed and built the farm, with Southampton-based Horizon Power and Energy Ltd providing technical, commercial and project management support.

Councillor Stef Nelson, the council’s portfolio holder for the environment, said: “I am delighted that the solar farm is up and running and generating reusable energy for the stadium.

“This project is the latest in a number of renewable energy schemes previously implemented by the council. It has enabled us to bring back into use a brownfield site, support our ongoing ambitions to reduce the council’s carbon footprint and help to reduce the running costs of the stadium so we can redirect funding to frontline services. I’d like to thank our contractors, Absolute and Horizon, for their knowledge and expertise in bringing this project to fruition.”

Image: VikingJohn/CC BY-SA 3.0/Edited for size