United Kingdom opens 1st subsidy-free solar farm

United Kingdom opens 1st subsidy-free solar farm”

That's more good news for British supporters of renewable energy on the day the country's first subsidy-free solar farm opens.

UK-based renewables developer Anesco says the inclusion of battery storage has been central to the economic viability of the country's first subsidy-free solar farm, a 10MW site the company has just unveiled in the east of England. The construction and installation of the project was completed in 12 weeks.

While both the United Kingdom government and renewable energy supporters have welcomed the opening of the Clayhill facility, the Solar Trade Association (STA), a United Kingdom solar industry group, gave it a qualified welcome, with a spokeswoman saying that government subsidies would still be required to support the majority of solar projects into the future.

Claire Perry MP, the UK Minister for Climate Change & Industry, today officially opened Anesco's Clayhill solar farm and energy storage facility, located near Flitwick in Bedfordshire.

More specifically, the 31,000 ground-mounted panels spread over 45 acres are co-located with five battery storage units, of 6MW total installed capacity.

The launch will help Anesco realise its plan to have the largest portfolio of energy storage in the United Kingdom set up and running by the end of next year, after announcing proposals to bring 185MW of energy onto the grid.

"Given our extensive experience with solar and storage projects, we took a fresh look at how we could finance and develop Clayhill without needing a renewables subsidy".

He put the ability to make the scheme subsidy-free down to working closely with supply chain partners on design, technical specifications, the latest technology and costs, as well as placing the 6MW of battery storage alongside the farm.

The farm's significance lies in the fact that it is the first to be developed in the United Kingdom that is not reliant on government funding or incentive schemes. "The Government is determined to build on this success and our ambitious Clean Growth Strategy will ensure we continue to lead the world on the transition to a low carbon economy", she added. Anesco said it was the first time the manufacturer's "ground-breaking" 1,500V inverters have been deployed in Europe and are used to maximise power conversion.

The farm is able to operate without a subsidy in part because of a steep fall in the cost of solar panels and also because it is linked to giant batteries that store power and release it at times of peak demand. "Huawei is pleased to have played a role in delivering Clayhill Solar Park". "It is only going to be exceptional projects that are built subsidy free".

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