British Gas’s parent Centrica has inked an outline agreement aimed at achieving 900 MW of solar generation and storage in the UK by 2026.

Partnering the national hydrocarbon champion will be PV farm developers Push Energy. With roots in farming, the Colchester-based company has developed 350 MW of ground- and roof-mounted solar since incorporation in 2012.

The two are to work together to take projects nationwide from site identification to commercial operation, with Push also acting as a turnkey engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) provider.

Centrica Energy Assets was launched last October to develop the quoted giant’s solar pipeline, initially set at 650MW and later extended.

Bill Rees, director of Centrica Energy Assets, hailed the partnership as “an important relationship and a big step”.

Like other hydrocarbon majors confronted with Britain’s formerly notorious ‘solar coaster’ of uncertain industry fundamentals, Centrica has had an in-out-in relationship with the rapidly cheapening technology.

With the arrival in 2010 of the Feed-in Tariff as a mass subsidy for solar, Centrica absorbed Hampshire-based British Solar Technologies, as it plotted to secure market share in a domestic PV sector anticipated to grow quickly.

Whitehall’s rounds of at first unheralded, then short-notice, slashing of the Feed-in Tariff in 2011 and 2012, ruled lawful only after the solar industry fought David Cameron’s Coalition government to the Supreme Court, initiated the infamous ‘solar coaster’ of the 20Teens, and confused the buying public.

The effect was deep staff shedding by the re-named British Gas Solar, in common with its competitors.


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