UK developer claims parity in reach for projects over 40MW

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on reddit
Share on email

UK-based PS Renewables is “confident” of developing its 50MW Eveley Solar Farm at grid-parity in the near future and said there are still options available for utility-scale solar projects of similar scale in the country.

The UK Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) is proposing to cut the feed-in tariff (FiT) rates for solar PV installations by as much as 87%. Support for large-scale solar has also been slashed.

The renewable energy developer took full ownership of the Eveley project after it was granted approval in July this year, and the company has today claimed it could be developed at grid-parity through a combination of reduced component costs and power purchase agreements.

Speaking to PV Tech's UK-focused sister site Solar Power Portal, PS Renewables commercial director Matt Hazell revealed that the developer had been in conversations with its supply chain for months and was confident of sourcing components and PPAs “at the right level”, but admitted that it was “incredibly, incredibly tight”.

Eveley is also compliant with the 1.3ROC grace period, the final lifeline of the expiring renewable obligation certificate (ROC) scheme, and Hazell said that pursuing that route is still an active option for the developer, but one that would incur greater costs due to completion deadlines and other administration costs associated with government subsidies.

“If we do it under the RO, the costs go up because we have to deploy many more people to get the thing built in time. There are funders involved with the project who are looking to complete very soon, but what we feel is if we can do it under own might, then this is probably the way to do it,” Hazell added.

PS Renewables expects construction of Eveley to take approximately five months and the company is still waiting for two planning conditions to be released. While these are expected to be received imminently, it would mean the bulk of construction being carried out to tight deadlines throughout the notoriously difficult winter period. Hazell said previous winters had been “crazy” for solar farm development, with images of flooded solar farms becoming commonplace in the UK industry.   

Choosing to pursue the grid-parity model would allow PS Renewables to develop the project in a “calmer fashion” Hazell said. He added that while the company remains in discussions with funders it was possible that the company could finance the Eveley project itself, with a number of off-takers also in discussions with PS Renewables regarding PPAs.

When asked when a PPA could effectively be agreed, Hazell said: “It depends on which one [PPA] we go with, and also the eventual funder. If we're doing it [funding the project], then we could probably do it within the next month or so I would've thought.”

However Hazell admitted that scale was pivotal for achieving near grid-parity and that projects below the 40MW mark would find it difficult to replicate the “buying power” he said the company had been able to achieve.

“You need scale, you can't do it smaller. To my mind that would be impossible. But that's today, in one year, two years, or three year's time – especially as energy pricing goes back up, which is what will happen – we see that,” he said.

Renewables Obligation support for large-scale solar projects has now closed and there remains a substantial pipeline of projects eligible for the grace period. Finlay Colville, head of intelligence at Solar Intelligence, said developers would be “moving mountains” to ensure projects that do qualify are indeed built under the scheme. Colville also noted other markets in which grid-parity claims had been made by developers such as Spain, but were not shared by investors.

“Whether the UK will be any different, once ROs are gone, is yet to be seen. However, it will be the investors – not the project developers – that decide in the end. Investment hates uncertainty and a government that cannot be trusted on policy – so how this makes the UK any different to other European countries that have scuppered solar PV incentives is definitely not an easy one to see,” Colville said.

19 August 2021
The utility-scale PV market is poised for exponential growth and yet the industry still has many fundamental opportunities to improve on standards and best practice. Tracker shade loss has been one of those topics that deserve more attention, but has been typically handled by derate factors rather than trying to accurately forecast the loss over the life of the system. Join Nextracker’s subject matter experts, Aron Dobos and Neelesh Umachandran, and Rounak Kharait, director of solar energy assessments at DNV, for a webinar about why shade modeling matters and recommendations on what the solar industry should do about it.
25 August 2021
Energy Next is a new industry exhibition focusing on the latest renewable energy and energy efficiency technology, which will be held for the first time in 2021 in Sydney, Australia alongside the Clean Energy Council’s Australian Clean Energy Summit, the peak gathering of leaders driving Australia's energy transformation. Organised by the same people behind Australia’s largest clean energy event, All-Energy Australia, Energy Next will give visitors two days of access to key suppliers in the industry, free-to-attend professional development and industry workshops, and networking opportunities to better understand clean energy issues and solutions and learn about the latest developments in this transformational, dynamic sector.
25 August 2021
The Intersolar Summit Brasil Nordeste takes place in Fortaleza, Brazil. It addresses leading local and international experts on solar power and renewable energy in the region. The Summit’s mission is to provide in-depth education, enable high-quality networking opportunities, expand the use of PV technologies at regional and national level and strengthen the local PV industry. The Intersolar Summit Brasil Nordeste is organized by Intersolar South America - Latin America’s largest exhibition and conference for the solar industry: Solar Promotion International GmbH, Pforzheim, Freiburg Management and Marketing International GmbH (FMMI) and Aranda Eventos & Congressos Ltda, São Paulo as co-organizer.
25 August 2021
Join us to hear directly from the CTOs and heads-of-research from the top-20 cell/wafer producers to the PV industry today. The event will focus on predicting the key metrics underpinning the next big shift to n-type with answers to the key questions: When will the transition to n-type happen? Which companies will be first to 10 GW capacity and production? Who will be the key equipment suppliers for the new production lines? Which n-type process flow/architecture will emerge as the front-runner? What will polysilicon purity and wafer thickness levels look like for optimized n-type manufacturing? What will the upstream poly/wafer supply-chain look like in 5 years from now?
26 August 2021
In this webinar, JA Solar will present its product portfolio based on the latest technologies to improve your PV projects, ensuring maximum reliability and performance. During the webinar we will receive insight from JA Solar about its solar technology roadmap and how the manufacturer is providing customers with innovative solutions to suit their needs, while we will also analyse how to determine the best product solution for each solar project.
6 September 2021
The 38th European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference and Exhibition will be held online from 6 - 10 September 2021, allowing PV experts from all around the globe to participate with just one click! The EU PVSEC is the world's leading forum for PV Research and Development and the biggest Conference on PV Solar Energy worldwide. That is why PV experts from all around the globe are keen on gathering together each year to be part of this specialist’s event, to present and discuss the latest developments in Photovoltaics, to network and to conduct business.

Read Next

PV Tech Premium
July 30, 2021
Not only will solar be the dominant source of new power generation in Europe by 2025, cementing its position as the third largest market for solar globally, but the continent has placed the asset class at the very heart of its COVID-19 recovery strategy. As part of a week-long special report on PV Tech Premium, Liam Stoker, Edith Hancock and Jules Scully explore the drivers for solar in Europe, the key markets and the challenges that remain.
July 30, 2021
First Solar has unveiled plans to construct a 3.3GWdc module assembly facility in India, bolstering its manufacturing footprint outside of the US.
July 30, 2021
Anglo-Australian mining company BHP, in partnership with Canada’s TransAlta Renewables, is to build two solar farms and a battery storage system to help power its Mt Keith and Leinster nickel mines in Western Australia
July 30, 2021
German energy giant RWE has upgraded its earnings forecast for 2021 after “exceptionally positive” earnings trend
July 29, 2021
Tracker and racking provider Arctech has delivered SkySmart II tracking system to a 575MW agriculture-sharing solar project located in Nangong City, Hebei Province, China.
July 29, 2021
Unigreen Energy, owned by Hevel majority shareholder Ream Management LLC, has broken ground on a wafer and cell manufacturing plant that will produce 1.3GW of silicon n-type monocrystalline ingots and wafers as well as 1GW of heterojunction technology (HJT) solar cells.

Subscribe to Newsletter

Upcoming Events

Upcoming Webinars
August 19, 2021
At 9am (PT) | 6pm (CEST)
Solar Media Events
August 25, 2021
Solar Media Events
October 6, 2021
Solar Media Events
October 19, 2021