Work begins on UK's biggest solar plant

Apr 24, 2023 03:07 PM ET
  • Project Fortress in Kent forecast to produce renewable power for 100,000 homes
Work begins on UK's biggest solar plant

Construction of the UK's largest solar as well as battery storage plant has begun after the company establishing it won the greatest government subsidy yet for a sun-powered energy scheme.

Project Fortress, which is being built on 890 acres of countryside at Cleve Hillside near Faversham in Kent, was approved development consent in May 2020 and was the first solar farm to be authorized as a country wide significant infrastructure project. Once operational, it is forecast to create enough renewable power annually to fulfill the demands of about 100,000 UK homes.

Quinbrook Infrastructure Partners, the investment supervisor behind the farm, is being sustained by the government's Contracts for Difference (CFD) scheme with a 15-year handle which it will certainly be paid a set price for the electrical energy generated, with revenues changed for inflation and also the cost paid by customers with their energy bills. The price is equivalent to ₤ 56 a megawatt hr on 40 per cent of the output.

The scheme is readied to be completed and also connected to the National Grid early following year. It is the largest under construction in the UK, although an even bigger project is prepared by Photovolt Development Partners at Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire that might offer sufficient electricity to power 330,000 homes.

Rory Quinlan, founder and managing partner of Quinbrook, claimed the UK had actually "historically been really charitable to renewable energy projects with a protected routine that has been running given that the 1990s".

" It continues to be a really attractive market for renewable companies," he included. "The UK government is helpful with the CFD auction and also the capacity market system and there is a great deal of corporate and also public opinion for the UK to decarbonise."

The UK created 13.5 terawatt hrs from solar last year-- about 4.3 per cent of overall power generation-- as well as there goes to present capacity for 15 gigawatts, according to trade body Solar Energy UK.

The government's energy protection strategy aims to supply a fivefold rise to 70GW by 2035. A market task force to drive the expansion is expected to be officially announced in the coming weeks.

Solar Energy UK claimed there had actually been rapid development in roof solar installations this year, with 57,125 listed below 50kW until now, only a little less than the number installed in the whole of 2021.

Nonetheless, the most significant obstacle facing new solar projects was a lack of capacity in the electricity grid, Solar UK stated. Numerous projects have actually been told that they have a 10- to 15-year delay to obtain a connection, with one provided a 2037 target date.

" Securing financial investment in reinforcing the UK's electrical power networks is concern primary for the solar industry," Solar Energy UK claimed. "Numerous larger projects, whether solar farms or installed on storage facility rooftops, are incapable to connect to the grid as well as waiting times for upgrades can stretch long right into the 2030s."

National Grid stated it was committed to connecting projects to the grid as rapid as possible, that a majority of projects in the pipe had connection dates within year of their asked for date, which it was "dealing with the electricity system operator, Ofgem as well as wider sector to present new methods to speed up the procedure".

Quinbrook has actually constructed more than 130 renewable projects in the UK and also lately won planning approval for a 230MW battery project on a previous coal-fired power station in Wales.



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