UK solar activity ramps as Statkraft, EDF and Lightsource bp unveil projects

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Lightsource bp is looking to pair 20 – 50MW of solar with a lithium-ion battery storage system and an electrolyser as part of the SWIC project. Image: Lightsource bp.

UK solar activity ramps as Statkraft, EDF and Lightsource bp unveil projects

Activity in the UK’s utility-scale solar market has continued to ramp after renewables majors Statkraft, EDF and Lightsource bp all unveiled new projects.

Earlier this week Statkraft, which late last year struck a deal to acquire UK-headquartered solar developer Solarcentury, revealed a trio of utility-scale solar farms in the UK that it intended to develop.

Two projects with a combined capacity of 84MWp are to be brought forward in Cornwall, in the UK’s south west. The White Cross solar energy farm and Treviscoe solar energy farms will share a grid connection, while two 18MW battery energy storage facilities will also be developed in order to “provide a more flexible and functional” project, Statkraft said.

A third project, to be located in Suffolk, will see a 41.5MWp solar farm paired with a 55MW battery.

All three sites are subject to planning permissions and approvals currently being sought by local planning authorities. Online exhibitions are being hosted to provide local residents with information relating to the projects in lieu of other engagements with local communities, which have been prevented by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Meanwhile, Lightsource bp also revealed this week that it will use nearly £20 million of government funding to develop a solar-powered green hydrogen project at the South Wales Industrial Cluster (SWIC). That project will pair a 20 – 50MW utility-scale solar array with a battery energy storage facility – to help manage generation intermittency – which will then be used to power an electrolyser to generate green hydrogen for use by a nearby steel manufacturer.

PV Tech sister publication Solar Power Portal spoke to Lightsource bp technical director Chris Buckland to learn more about the project.

News of Statkraft and Lightsource bp’s projects comes amidst a month of strong activity in the UK solar sector, with EDF Renewables having also acquired two 49.99MW utility-scale solar projects that it intends to develop after receiving planning consent for its maiden large-scale solar project in the UK earlier this month.

Solar Media Market Research revealed that it estimates as much as 545MWp (dc) of new solar capacity was installed in 2020, aided by a rush of ground-mounted projects connected in H2 2020 as pandemic restrictions eased.

However this is set to jump this year as projects otherwise curtailed by the pandemic are progressed, and up to 1GW of new solar could be installed in the UK this year.

Utility-scale solar deployment in the UK will be covered by Solar Media Market Research’s Utility Solar Summit UK event, taking place between 15 – 16 June 2021. For more information on this virtual conference, including on how to participate, click here.

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