Chinese tier-one module supplier ReneSola has signed a deal to supply 30MW of solar modules to Cofely Solar Technics, which will be used to develop a utility-scale project in Nottinghamshire.
The project recently emerged successfully from a planning appeal and is a May 2014 grace-compliant project, meaning it qualifies for pre-May 2014 levels of Renewable Obligation Certificates support.
ReneSola will deliver its 260W Virtus II modules – constructed in Poland – between July and September and Finlay Colville, head of market intelligence at Solar Intelligence, revealed the deal takes the supplier’s shipments to Cofely for UK projects to almost 50MW over the past year.
Colville said that Cofely’s presence in the UK market had been limited to a small number of large-scale solar farms and has yet to indicate uptake of smaller 5MW sites since the RO closed to projects above 5MW in size on 31 March.
“Cofely has yet to gain traction with some of the largest developers in the UK, but this may change over the next eight months if Cofely decides to pursue a more aggressive sales campaign to target the 50-100 project developers that offer business opportunities for them,” he said.
Last week the government announced proposals to close the RO for sub-5MW farms a year earlier than planned but projects which have secured planning permission prior to 22 July – or those that developers can prove to have spent “significant resources” in developing until that date – will still be eligible for support.
Colville added that it is uptake of these sites which will determine whether or not Cofely can still benefit from the UK market before 31 March 2016, and said that other EPC firms in general would need to “act quickly” now to engage with project developers that could be on offer before the RO window closes.
“Understanding which projects are 2014 grace-compliant and, pending the current DECC proposals, also which are 2015 grace-compliant, has now become one of the most critical issues impacting on EPCs and component suppliers focused on the UK market,” Colville said.