Solarcentury says it will have connected 140MW of large-scale ground mount solar sites in the current ROC year by the end of the month in anticipation of the early closure of the Renewables Obligation (RO).
Some of the systems have already been completed and are exporting to the grid, while the developer says the remainder will be completed by the end of tomorrow with none expected to miss the deadline.
Tim Rose, European commercial director at Solarcentury, said: “We are continuing to work with a wide range of clients for our sizeable ground-mount business in the UK. Securing this amount of ground-mounted solar is impressive given the uncertainties created by the government’s sudden policy changes.
Among the projects to be completed in 2015/16 is a 40MW portfolio of sub-5MW sites developed and sold to Bluefield Solar Income Fund, continuing the long working relationship between the investment fund and Solarcentury.
Solarcentury is also constructing a 40MW site in Hampshire for UK-based investor Golden Square Energy. The remaining 60MW of projects are sites of 5MW or less for which Solarcentury is acting as EPC for a range of clients, all of which will qualify for either 1.3 ROCs or the feed-in-tariff.
However, with a substantially reduced rate of tariff available and with the RO closed to new solar projects, there has been a rush throughout the industry to complete projects before the cut-off date of 1 April. A number of developers, including Solarcentury, have stepped up their activity abroad to compensate for the changes which are expected to result in reduced activity.
Neil Perry, chief financial officer at Solarcentury, said: “Solarcentury continues to view the UK’s solar industry as a viable market, despite the government’s shift in support away from solar. At the same time as building more ground-mounted solar farms in the UK, we are also continuing to grow our international businesses across Europe, Africa and Latin America.”
“Adding 140MWp of capacity to the grid helps diversify the UK’s energy supply, which reduces reliance on imported fossil energy. Building this level of solar capacity in the UK grid furthers our company mission: to promote the widespread adoption of solar in order to reduce carbon emissions and alleviate climate change,” he added.
Solarcentury will undertake operations and maintenance duties on all sites.