First Solar and Belectric Connect 34.5MW to UK Grid
- Published: Thursday, 19 June 2014 08:36
First Solar and BELECTRIC GmbH have announced the grid connection of three utility-scale power plants in the United Kingdom.
Together, the projects - all powered by First Solar’s advanced thin film modules - will produce approximately 33,900,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity per year, which is sufficient to supply the energy needs of an estimated 10,200 average homes.
The largest of the three facilities, the 14MWAC Marsh Solar Farm in Wiltshire, is owned by, German asset management group KGAL’s ESPF 3 renewable energy fund for institutional investors. The 10.5MWAC Weston Longville Solar Farm in Norfolk and the 10MWAC Holton Solar Farm in Suffolk are owned by the BBIP infrastructure fund. Together, the projects will displace approximately 11,800 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year, which is equivalent to planting about 3,260,000 trees or removing over 4,300 cars from Britain’s roads.
The plants have been designed to have a minimal impact on the communities and ecosystems they are located in. For instance, Holton Solar Farm has been constructed on an abandoned World War Two-era airfield, RAF Halesworth, with the full approval of the local community. The site will feature a biodiversity enhancement program to further mitigate its impact on local ecosystems. Similarly, Marsh Solar Farm was also built on a decommissioned airfield, while the Weston Longville Solar Farm features a habitat management initiative.
“The United Kingdom is a fast growing photovoltaic market and these plants are an important demonstration of our combined ability to effectively deliver clean, reliable solar energy in the United Kingdom,” said Martin Zembsch, Chief Business Development Officer of BELECTRIC. “The plants were completed and grid-connected on schedule and on budget, in keeping with BELECTRIC’s quality-based philosophy. We’re proud to have partnered with First Solar, whose advanced thin-film modules are powering all three plants.”
BELECTRIC and First Solar share a longstanding partnership that spans over a decade: the two groups entered into a joint venture in 2013 and also collaborated on the development of the 128MWAC Templin solar power plant in Germany, the largest deployment of First Solar modules in Europe. An estimated 80% of the 1,400MW of solar electricity generation capacity installed by BELECTRIC, is powered by First Solar modules.
“As the United Kingdom embraces the potential of clean and affordable solar electricity, these projects represent a new milestone in the country’s development of a sustainable solar energy portfolio,” said Stefan Degener, Managing Director, First Solar GmbH. “The projects also represent the latest success in First Solar’s longstanding partnership with BELECTRIC, demonstrating how our companies are capable of bringing together industry-leading capabilities and technologies to deliver reliable solar energy in virtually any market.”