After the frenetic pace of 2014, solar companies will be focused on the straight line to March. It’s going to be a challenging period for many developers and EPCs working in the UK market, but we believe the future remains bright for solar energy into 2015 and beyond.

At Lightsource, we have a total of 35 people in our delivery team with project managers and grid experts working day-in-day-out to connect these plants before the end of March. It’s pleasing to see that the majority of our large-scale ground mount sites are well underway, however, there are still some good projects being offered in the marketplace at this late stage due to delayed planning consent, and we will definitely consider them.

The government has confirmed two grace periods for 1.4 projects but this matter presents a genuine concern for many developers. It may not be until the Ofgem guidance on grace periods is published early April that developers can truly interpret the government recommendations and clarify the risk.

We are on-course with all of our planned sites and we hope to break our 1GW target before the looming 31 March connection deadline. Through lessons learned, we are in a more advanced position now when compared to last year. We have probably been a little more conservative in our approach this year, but that is not to say we have been less ambitious – as our gigawatt target reflects!

As we all have experienced over the years, there is no amount of forward planning that can account for the great British weather. I am almost certain that we will yet again be faced with the challenge of constructing solar farms in the worst conditions possible. Like many other developers, we will be very much relying on our partnerships with EPCs and ICPs to help the construction, installation and connection of our new sites run as smoothly as possible.

It’s also important for developers not to neglect the landowners of their projects. At this time of year, these construction sites can sometimes seem like chaotic environments to the untrained eye. While developers can easily visualise the end result, the landowner may be worried about what is happening on their land, so it’s crucial that they are provided with as much support and information as possible – it may sound like a simple thing but it’s one that can be easily overlooked.

While there is much debate about the future of large-scale solar across the energy sector, I would like to reiterate that the lights don’t get switched off in March. There are still going to be many viable projects out there at a sub-5MW level for ground mount installations and we are already seeing a lot of interest and movement on our commercial rooftop projects. The UK solar industry has overcome many challenges in 2014 and has proven to be extremely resilient. While we all expect to face more upcoming hurdles, we can be sure that 2015 promises to be another interesting year for solar energy.