Goldbeck Solar has confirmed the completion of a 49.6MW solar farm near Melksham in Wiltshire as the company looks to grow its business in the UK.

The site was connected on 30 March, a day before the final deadline for the 1.3 ROC period, following a build period of under six months.

The time constraints placed on the project meant plans were developed and changed during construction to ensure completion of the project in time, including a switch to Schneider inverters.

Speaking to Solar Power Portal about the project, John Schroeder, senior project manager in Goldbeck's international sales division, explained, “We’ve used SMA and Schneider across a number of our sites in the UK. The fact we selected Schneider relatively late in the design phase of this project created a number of changes beyond the names on the equipment – electrical schemes, roadway construction, module layouts and logistics.

“At the end of the day, our engineering, procurement, site and project management teams were able to adjust quickly and focus on pushing the tasks on the critical path.” 

The site also uses a 132kV substation – one of a small number in the UK – to accommodate its size, which is the largest Goldbeck have in the UK, overtaking a 37MW solar farm in Bournemouth. Matthew Jones, O&M UK manager for Goldbeck, added that the site is to date the biggest the company has developed worldwide.

He also revealed that Goldbeck will now seek to grow its O&M activity in the UK to compensate for the decline in build rates resulting from changes to government subsidy.

“Goldbeck are looking to develop more sites as much as possible but also develop more of the O&M business because we have this range of sites, from the smallest being a rooftop which is 515kW up to this 50MW, so we are looking to develop our O&M business as well – as everybody probably is because of the decline of the build,” Jones said.

He added: “They (Goldbeck) are very positive to the UK market. Goldbeck don't go into other markets very quickly. They've obviously scanned the UK market and think it’s a good potential market to continue developing with O&M as well.”

This article has been amended since original publication to include the views of John Schroeder.