With 2017 drawing to a close, Solar Power Portal recaps some of the most popular and important stories of the year. In the first of a series of articles in the lead up to Christmas, today we look at January, February and March.


The year started with a flurry of activity as the UK’s secondary solar market proved just as hot as it was in 2016. Foresight grabbed headlines in early February when it clinched a deal to acquire the country’s largest operational solar farm; the 72MW Shotwick Solar Park.

Jointly developed by WELink, British Solar Renewables, Compton Group and China Triumph International in 2016, Foresight took over the PPA-backed project to take its operational UK solar portfolio to 420MW, reinforcing its presence as one of the UK’s largest asset holders.

Foresight also took over the management of the power purchase agreement the site maintains with the nearby Shotton papermill, labelling it as the “new gold standard” for PPAs in the field.

Less than a fortnight later however the company revealed that it was still having issues with sites it acquired from SunEdison, problems that had been plaguing the sites for some time.

Meanwhile in March we took a deeper look at the failed Solar Cloth Company, a would-be tech firm that raised around £1 million on crowdfunding platform CrowdCube to develop flexible solar panels to be deployed throughout the world.

The Cambridge-based company boasted significant potential, but spectacularly went bust less than 18 months later, taking with it a considerable amount of investor finance. SPP received a large number of emails on the topic and we eventually managed to prove that TSCC, and crucially founder Perry Carroll, misled would-be investors over its business plans, links to research establishments and history.

Away from solar there was considerable movement in battery storage in Q1 2017, not least of all the announcement of a £28 million package of government funding designed to reduce the technology’s cost of deployment. It proved to be a precursor of more to come, with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy gripping to battery storage as a strategic industry throughout the year.

But the government wasn’t the only body to embrace batteries. In January IKEA confirmed its intent to broaden its product horizons beyond the solar panels it already sold with the addition of various new, complementary products, revealed later in the year to be domestic battery units supplied by both LG Chem and Sonnen.

SPP was first to reveal the partnerships, which acted as an extension onto IKEA’s existing relationship with Solarcentury, later on in the year, with prices starting at just under £7,000 for a complete solar-plus-storage system.  

Tomorrow Solar Power Portal will continue its recap of 2017, looking at the top stories in April, May and June.