The two solar farms are located in Dorset and Wiltshire. Image: Centrica.
The two solar farms are located in Dorset and Wiltshire. Image: Centrica.

Energy services firm Centrica has added two solar projects totalling 32MW in the South-West of England to its portfolio.

In Dorset, the company has secured the development rights to construct a 16MW solar farm with 3MW/6MWh 2-hour duration co-located battery storage near Winterborne Whitechurch, located on the A354 to the West of Bournemouth.

The project is expected to break ground in early 2024, with the first power exported to the grid in 2025.

The two assets will use the same connection point to the grid. Centrica indicated that this would help maximise the grid connection.

Alongside the Dorset-based solar farm, Centrica has acquired the operational Roundponds Solar Farm in Wiltshire. The 13MW solar farm was commissioned in 2015.

The Winterborne and Roundponds projects will contribute towards Centrica’s long-term plan to deliver a portfolio of green energy transition assets and follow the construction of an 18MW solar farm at Codford, Wiltshire, which was commissioned in 2023.

Codford Solar Farm consists of 33,000 panels and is capable of producing around 19GWh of green electricity per year. Construction began at the site in April 2022, after consent was acquired by Centrica Business Solutions in 2021.

A power purchase agreement (PPA) was signed with telecommunications giant Vodafone UK, which will account for around 9GWh of green electricity transmitted from the Codford solar farm.

Greg McKenna, managing director of Centrica Business Solutions, said: “Solar will play an increasingly important role in the UK as we strive for a net zero energy system. We’re proud to be leading the charge in delivering a bank of assets across the UK that will help meet the need for clean energy generation and storage.”

Centrica signs PPA with Smart Architectural Aluminium

In November 2023, Centrica signed a solar-based PPA agreement with Smart Architectural Aluminium from a 2.94MW solar installation.

Annually, Centrica will provide Smart Architectural Aluminium with 2.7GWh of renewable energy over a 25-year period. This means around 20% of the site’s current energy requirement will be supplied via the new solar array, consisting of over 7,000 solar panels.

A long-term lease agreement had been secured for the solar project. This sees Centrica lease the roof space, finance the project and agree to a PPA for the on-site energy generation.