Vattenfall has begun generating electricity at a prototype project which sees a new solar development share an existing grid connection with one of the company’s wind farms.
The 4.99MW Parc Cynog Solar Farm in Carmarthenshire is Vattenfall’s first large scale solar project and has been built in the shadow of 11 wind turbines that have been in operation for the last 14 years.
The prototype project began generating power on 24 March and is intended to test Vattenfall’s co-location concept, which the company hopes will maximise the renewables potential of its UK sites.
Jason Ormiston, Vattenfall’s manager for public and regulatory affairs & stakeholders in the UK, told Solar Power Portal: “The whole point of the prototype is to learn from the experience but we need a chance to get some generating time under our belt before we start looking at what works well and what doesn’t. It’s only been a week since we starting generating.”
Vattenfall claims the concept of co-location makes technical sense as the wind and the sun tend to generate clean power at different times, with the outcome of the Welsh project likely to impact future developments.
“I’m unaware of any plans for any specific sites at the moment but we do have an approach whereby we’re looking to other sites in our portfolio to see if there are any opportunities to co-locate renewable technologies with existing wind farms or those in development,” Ormiston added.
The project was accredited after 22 July 2015 but as it was completed prior to today's deadline for the Renewables Obligation, it will receive a 1.3 ROC rate until 1 June 2016 when this support will drop to 0.8 as stipulated by the government's recent changes to financial subsidies paid to solar projects.