Solar and storage developer Anesco has begun generating from its latest utility-scale project, a 12MW farm on the Bucks-Oxfordshire border.
The project, managed on behalf of Gresham House, is primed for battery storage colocation and is sited adjacent to a substation.
Anesco’s director of asset management, Mike Ryan, has previously suggested that those considering investment in solar or storage may as well colocate. Speaking last year at a conference hosted by consultants Aurora, Ryan said colocation can deliver higher IRR than standalone developments, and provide a natural hedge to investors.
By way of example, he pointed to Clayhill, the UK’s first subsidy-free 10MW solar farm, which is colocated with 6MW of battery storage. In 2018/19, Clayhill delivered 7 per cent return on capital employed (ROCE), said Ryan, but was on track to achieve 8 per cent ROCE in 2019/20, despite “plummeting” day ahead power prices.
“That won’t set the world on fire, but it shows returns are stable and they are increasing,” said Ryan. “It’s all about optionality in a short-term world”.
As such, he suggested PV developers should “develop sites that are ‘battery-ready’ if they are not convinced just yet”.
103 projects delivered
The Bumpers facility is the 103rd grid-scale solar project delivered by its team since the company launched in 2010.
Gresham House has partnered with Anesco on five previous PV farms. The fast-growing fund raised £220 million at its IPO in 2018, and last month announced a further £31 million from backers. Chairman John Leggate is aiming for a fleet of 330 MW of grid-connected projects by the end of 2020. Ventures targeted include a 50MW farm at Wickham Market, Suffolk.
Under the deal, Anesco will continue to monitor and maintain the Ilmer site for 25 years. Enhanced biodiversity commitments there specify measures to protect at-risk bat and bird species.
New Anesco CEO, Mark Futyan, commented: “Solar and battery storage have a vital role to play in the decarbonisation of the UK’s energy system. We are delighted to hold long-standing relationships with investors such as Gresham House, who are committed to actively supporting this transition.”