The PM installed the first panel at the 10MW solar site. Image: ScottishPower/Number 10

Construction of ScottishPower’s solar farm at the Carland Cross hybrid wind, PV and energy storage site has begun, with the first of the 10,000 panels installed by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

In a show of support for Cornwall’s ambitions to be the first net zero region in the UK, the Prime Minister appeared on site at the energy park – touted as the UK’s first utility-scale energy park – ahead of the G7 summit set to take place over the next few days in the county.

The solar PV is being installed alongside 1MW of battery storage, with these set to complement the existing 20MW wind farm on the site, being the first to combine all three.

The Carland Cross site already has a 20MW wind farm operating. Image: ScottishPower/Number 10

The PV is expected to achieve its first export later this year, with ScottishPower also planning on building two further solar farms at its Coldham and Coal Clough wind farms. Additionally, it has also submitted a planning application for a new extension to its Whitelee wind farm, currently the UK’s largest onshore wind farm which also includes a 50MW battery. This extension includes a 40MW solar farm and 50MW of battery energy storage as well as a green hydrogen production facility.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “The hybrid energy park at Carland Cross provides a bright and exciting vision into a carbon-free future that will protect our planet and create jobs for years to come.”

ScottishPower's plans to retrofit its wind farms with solar and storage were first announced in late 2019, following on from the company applying to build a utility-scale solar-plus-storage farm in Scotland backed by a private wire connection with pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline several months prior.

Keith Anderson, CEO of ScottishPower, said: “There’s no doubt we’re in a race against time and speed is of the essence, but with that comes tremendous opportunity and our message is clear – if you halve the time, we’ll double the investment – and that will bring significant and lasting change.”