Ever since the first mention of the Fast Track Feed-in Tariff Review the question of just how many projects will beat the August 1 cut-off has been a burning one. As it turns out, Ofgem’s figures on this won’t be published for a while, so I thought I’d document exactly who has installed what and where in order to showcase just how many projects made it in time.
For the sake of sanity, I have not pulled together every single case study over the 50kW mark as I would be here until the Comprehensive Review just noting them all down. Instead I have used 500kW as a rule – but a rule that has been broken in exceptional cases.
Isle of Wight– 320kW
BKS Energy successfully completed this 320KW solar farm working together with the Isle of Wight Planning department and Scottish and Southern Electric. Due to the loss of finance BKS Energy had to self fund the project, and so were forced to reduce the size of the first phase of the solar farm from 4.35MW to just 300kW.
WestcottSolar Park – 350kW
Situated on the runway of a former Battle of Britain airfield, this 350kW plant was developed by property company Rockspring to provide power to the Westcott Venture Park. The installation, which was designed by Ownergy, received planning permission for 1,500 solar panels in November 2010. Construction by German solar park contractors Solon SE started in April this year and the system was energised and registered on June 22 before being connected to the grid later that month.
Planning approval has also been given to expand the system to a total of 1.6MW.
Howbery Business Park – 748kW
Solarcentury broke new ground with its 748kW ground-mounted array, located in Wallingford, Oxfordshire. Comprised of over 3,000 panels the system will produce enough electricity to power one-quarter of the business park in which it is located.
Andrew Troup of Lark Energy said, “The local community has been critically important in making this solar park a reality. It’s only been possible to meet the installation deadline because of the support from Wallingford Town Council and Crowmarsh Parish Council and the cooperation and efficiency of South Oxfordshire District Council and the District Network operator, SSE. The support has been widespread.”
Fen Farm – 1MW
Ecotricity completed its ground-breaking 1MW solar park in Lincolnshire. The installation of Sharp solar panels were constructed on Fen Farm on land next to the Conisholme 20-turbine wind farm, and is expected to generate enough electricity for nearly 300 average homes each year for the next 25 years.
Coombe Farm – 1MW
Solar South West recently completed a 1MW installation at Coombe Farm in Crewkerne, Somerset. Sited on a gentle south-facing slope, the installed arrays produce maximum generation throughout the year as the A-SUN modules are designed to have their pitch altered with the seasons (45° in the winter, to 16° in the summer).
The system is expected to generate approximately 1,000,000kWh per annum, which will meet around a quarter of the electricity required for Coombe Farm.
Hendra Holiday Park – 1.15MW
This 1.15MW solar farm, which has been built by EOS adjacent to the Hendra Holiday Park in Newquay, comprises 5,000 230W solar panels spread out over a total of ten acres.
Originally bosses from the holiday park planned to build a 4.5MW 42-acre solar farm on land it owns, yet this strategy was soon restricted after planners were told there was no longer an adequate link to the National Grid.
JB Wheaton & Sons – 1.2MW
Solar South West has completed a 1.2MW solar PV project for warehouse and transport company J B Wheaton & Sons in South Chard, Somerset. Their management, already enthusiastic about sustainable business practices, was committed to optimising the company’s warehouse for solar energy.
Wheal Jane Solar Farm – 1.4MW
UK-based solar developer Lightsource Renewable Energy connected this 1.4MW project the project is also the first to be completed in the South West of the country, where the majority of large-scale plants are set to go ahead.
Located on the site of a disused tin mine, the 1.4 MW farm covers a 7.2 acre plot at Wheal Jane, Truro, and is the first of many renewable energy projects planned at the reclaimed mine. The farm’s 5,680 solar panels will generate a total of 1,437MWh of electricity a year, which is enough to power the equivalent of 430 homes in the area and save over 737 tonnes of CO2 emissions a year.
Rhos-Y-Gilwen – 2MW
Western Solar completed what is now the largest solar park in Wales. The £5 million project, which is located close to Rhos-Y-Gilwen mansion in North Pembrokeshire, is also the first in the UK to utilise MiaSolé thin-film solar panels.
The project’s Managing Director Glen Peters said, “It [the park] will deliver enough power to make most of this part of North Pembrokeshire carbon neutral.”
In granting planning consent for the project, Pembrokeshire council became the first in Wales to allow such a project.
Marston Solar Farm – 4.51MW
Following the successful commissioning of the 4.89MWp Hawton solar farm, the 4.51MWp project at Marston, near Grantham in Lincolnshire, is now generating solar energy for the local area.
The Marston solar farm was built by Dutch company Oskomera in just six weeks and, like the Hawton farm, was funded by Lightsource and developed by Lark Energy with the backing of Octopus Investments. Covering a total of 30 acres, the 19,500 Suntech solar panels will generate enough energy to power 1,100 homes.
Toyota Motor Manufacturing UK – 4.6MW
British Gas has now completed this 4.6MW ground-mounted solar installation at Toyota Motor Manufacturing UK’s vehicle plant in Burnaston, Derbyshire. Approximately 17,000 Sharp solar panels have now been installed on site, and are expected to generate enough energy to build 7,000 cars a year.
Hawton Solar Park – 5MW
Conergy Group has finished installing this 5MW free-field system, which is located in the parish of Hawton near Newark-on-Trent in Nottinghamshire and will feed back 4,860MWh of electricity into the National Grid.
The system, owned and developed by Lightsource Renewable Energy and funded by Octopus Investments, was built with the help of local partner Lark Energy and is comprised of 21,600 Conergy PowerPlus modules.
Westmill Solar Farm – 5MW
Birmingham-based electrical services contractor JT Hawkes completed the 5MW large-scale solar project at Westmill Solar Farm in Swindon. The 30-acre plant, which was completed in just six weeks, will supply renewable energy to 1,500 homes in Oxfordshire over the next 25 years.
Working with German photovoltaic panel supplier Abakus on the £12 million solar farm for clients Blue Energy and Low Carbon Solar JT Hawkes installed ~23,000 photovoltaic solar panels on site. The panels have been mounted at a height of three metres on 68 kilometres of steel and are expected to feed almost 5GW of solar electricity a year into the national grid.
Langage Solar Park – 5MW
Gehrlicher Solar has completed the Langage Solar Park, located near Plymouth. Built on an area of 14 hectares the project is expected to produce 4.95 million kilowatt hours of renewable energy each year, providing solar power to approximately 1,400 households.
Gehrlicher installed a total of 21,252 Yingli modules and seven SMA inverters on site alongside a customised gabion mounting system.
Adding the 5MW plants, the Durrants Farm, Porchfield installation and 5MW Wilburton Solar Farm were also hooked up in time. Octopus Investments also completed the 1.74MW project in Bodmin, Cornwall, the 5MW park at Howton Farm, Cornwall, the Moor Solar farms, which are 1.65MW and 1.13MW in Long Sutton and the 1.93MW installation in Taunton, Somerset. I'm currently awaiting confirmation on the Herriard Estates system.
On the smaller ground-mounted scale, The Olde House in Chapel Amble completed its 242kW array.
There have also been several large-scale rooftop projects completed before the cut-off, including the following, which are all over 500kW:
Body Shop - 833kW
NYSE - 600kW
Promens Warehouse - 1.65MW
Goldbeck Solar - 515kW
Debach Enterprises - 500kW
Bexley Council - 558.6kW
A-Sun - 1.16MW – 6.87
These projects combined total over 75MW, which will be added to Ofgem’s latest figure of 151MW. At present, 141MW of this total can be attributed to residential installations, placing the UK on a path to reach almost 300MW of installations by the end of the year.
This list is not exhaustive, as of course some projects have not been officially announced due to the recently-discovered policy loophole; however we’ll be sure to keep an eye on any that creep into view in the coming months.