Regen SW is attempting to boost local renewable energy deployment by fostering partnerships between companies with a shared interest in reducing grid reinforcement costs.

The centre’s newly-launched Renewable Energy Collaboration Service aims to bring together an array of renewable energy technology companies to maximise available grid space, including solar developers.

The service has been developed in conjunction with local Distribution Network Operator (DNO), Western Power Distribution.

Regen SW is initially launching the service in Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Wiltshire, Somerset, former Avon and Gloucestershire. However, the company will consider taking the service nationwide if there proves enough appetite among developers.

The service will work by subscribing developers sharing information on projects where they would consider collaboration on grid. Regen SW would then work out from the submitted projects which have potential to collaborate.

Commenting on the launch of the service, Merlin Hyman, chief executive, Regen SW told Solar Power Portal: “Our electricity grid is a key part of our national infrastructure, as vital to the functioning of our society as the roads.

“The rapid development of local generation is a major challenge for a system that has developed relatively steadily. The grid is perhaps the key constraint for new renewable electricity. Regen SW has been working with its members, Western Power Distribution (WPD) and the Department of Energy and Climate Change to explore ways to tackle these challenges.

“A key part of the solution must be a more collaborative approach to connecting to and reinforcing the grid, with developers sharing costs and working with DNOs on strategic approaches. This is why Regen has launched the collaboration service.”

Grid constraints are an increasingly common problem for larger solar farms and the cost of upgrading the energy infrastructure is often prohibitive. As a result, solar developers have been turning their attention to regions with poorer irradiance but higher connection availability.   

The service will start at £500 plus VAT.