Britain’s first solar farm with a direct connection into the National Grid’s transmission system has gone live.
The 50MWp Larks Green facility near Bristol has been co-developed by Enso Energy and Cero Generation.
Whereas previous farms have been granted connections only to regional DNOs, new switchgear at the Larks Green enables national linkage at voltages up to 400 kV. The connection into NG’s sub-station at Iron Acton was commissioned this week.
The 200-acre plot will make 73,000 MWh, equivalent the annual consumption of over 17,000 homes. Its backers say it has potential to displace over 20,000 tonnes of carbon, compared to legacy thermal electricity.
A battery of 49.5MW/ 99MWh will complete Larks Green’s configuration, pending imminent financial closure.
Connecting solar power directly to the transmission network marks a significant step in Britain’s transition to renewables. As well as allowing clean solar energy to be transported over greater distances, it opens a gateway for larger projects to connect to the grid.
The government’s Powering up Britain report repeats its ambition for a five-fold increase in solar generation by 2035, with up to 70 GW installed – enough to power around 20 million homes.
Cero Generation’s CEO Marta Martinez Queimadelos said: “We’re proud to be celebrating a major step in the UK’s renewable energy mission, recognising the vast benefits of battery co-location in contributing to our mission of delivering a net-zero future, for this and every generation.
“As the country’s first solar project to connect to the transmission network, it represents true innovation that paves the way for others to follow”, she added.
Roisin Quinn, National Grid’s director of customer connections said: “Solar power has a critical role to play in the clean energy transition.
“Connecting the first PV array to our high voltage transmission network represents a key step on that journey, and a great achievement by Cero, Enso and our engineering teams”.
Cero has 38 other standalone or co-located BESS projects in its UK pipeline within its partnership with Enso. The joint venture’s existing pipeline extends to 5GW, and a further 5GW of early-stage opportunities.