As Solar Media head of market intelligence Finlay Colville has said during today’s Top 20 EPC instalment, Solarplicity were one of the more interesting companies to review after developing 150MW of utility-scale solar.

That figure places them well inside the top 10 for market activity in 15/16 and David Elbourne, chief executive at Solarplicity, spoke to Solar Power Portal about merging Amp Solar UK and Sustain to create the vertically-integrated business, the competitiveness of the UK market and how it intends to survive post-subsidy.

How has Solarplicity fared over the last twelve months?

Within the last ten or 12 months we've merged with Amp Solar UK and Sustain to create Solarplicity. It gives us a vertically-integrated solar business. We develop, build, hold and manage our own assets as well as working for third parties. We've built and own 150MW of our own assets in the last year, and that includes commercial rooftops as well as utility-grade ground-mounts, and we've signed a £115 million debt deal for those assets with Macquarie.

How competitive has the UK EPC market been over the last year?

It's been very competitive. The reduction in costs between 1.4 and 1.3 ROCs were around five to six per cent, and we're expecting a similar reduction between 1.3 and 1.2.

And is that price pressure creating something of a level playing field, or creating a price war between competing EPCs?

No I think it's become more of a level playing field. It's making it easier for UK-based businesses as pricing has become tighter. It's harder for European businesses to come into the UK and compete at the same level.

Did the 2015/16 build-out period throw out any particular challenges?

We didn't see any on the supply side, we knew we were going to build out 150MW and we ordered our kit way up front. I actually think grid was organised too, National Grid and DNOs were much more organised this year and were well prepared for the rush of connections needed between December and March.

What shape do you see Solarplicity taking as subsidies are withdrawn and the market recalibrates?

We've got a plan in 2016/17 to build another 150MW of 1.2 ROC projects, so we'll build, fund and hold onto those. Additionally within the coming weeks we'll be announcing our new rooftop model, which is a subsidy-free rooftop model that we can install – for free – and charge a discounted PPA against the market price for electricity. Our model will be that we have an ESCO that feeds the meter – and we'll supply from solar and rooftops – and then charge a reduced cost of electricity. It'll be around 8-10% cheaper than the market price.