Cero Generation with UK development partner Enso Energy has completed the energisation of the first solar farm to connect directly to the UK transmission network. This follows installation of new switchgear at the 50MW Larks Green solar farm site by Cero and Enso in collaboration with National Grid, and the running of a high voltage cable between the substation and solar farm, which has enabled connection to National Grid’s Iron Acton substation near Bristol. The solar plant comprises 152,400 solar modules installed in a 200-acre plot. The project will be co-located with a 49.5MW / 99MWh battery energy storage system (BESS), which is expected to reach financial close shortly. By storing energy during peak power generation and exporting it back onto the grid when demand is high, the BESS will balance the intermittent energy production, maximise the site’s efficiency and allow a greater output of clean energy. Until now, all of the UK’s solar farms have connected to the country’s distribution networks – the lower voltage regional grids that carry power from the high voltage transmission network to homes and businesses.
Connecting solar power directly to National Grid’s transmission network allows clean energy to be transported over greater distances and opening a gateway for larger projects to connect to the grid. The announcement marks progress towards meeting Britain’s commitment to a fully decarbonised power system by 2035. The government’s recent Powering up Britain report reaffirmed its ambition for a five-fold increase in deployment of solar generation by 2035, with up to 70GW installed. The design and layout for the co-located solar farm and BESS will produce a net biodiversity gain. This will be achieved through the provision of a range of resources for local wildlife, including additional woodland planting, that will provide shelter and food for a range of protected species. Chief executive of Cero Generation Marta Martinez Queimadelos: “The Larks Green project is not only a significant milestone for Cero and an opportunity to initiate our BESS pipeline, but it represents a significant contribution to the UK’s goals to reach net-zero.” Co-founder and director of Enso Energy Ian Harding added: “The connection of this solar farm at Larks Green is the culmination of a lot of hard work by all the Enso, Cero and National Grid teams involved. “Completion of this project is a major milestone for renewable energy in the UK and provides further evidence that co-located solar and battery storage projects connecting directly to the transmission network will play an important role in the delivery of the UK’s net zero plans.” 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.
Credits: renews.biz [Image: Enso]