14 March 2013 – Conergy announced today the supply of its "P-Series" modules for four UK solar farms with a combined power output of 15.3 megawatts (MW). The plants, which range in size from 2.2MW to 5.8MW, are being built by Spanish Solaer and will produce a total of around 14,000 megawatt hours of clean solar power a year – enough to power some 4,000 homes, or twice the total energy consumption of Windsor Castle and Buckingham Palace.
Three plants are located in the southwest of the UK and will produce around 11,200 megawatt hours, supplying approximately 3,200 homes. Two of these are located in the county of Somerset, one of 5.8MW – the largest of the four – and another of 2.2MW. A 4MW park is currently under construction in Devon. The fourth of the projects has been built in Buckinghamshire in the southeast of England, close to Conergy UK in Milton Keynes. At 3.3MW, the plant will generate around 2,800 megawatt hours of clean energy for a further 800 homes in London commuter belt.
Long-time partnership between Conergy and Solaer crosses national borders
Conergy has collaborated successfully with Spanish partner Solaer for years. Luis Jiménez Gutierrez, Managing Director of Conergy Spain, said: "This order is our largest with Solaer to date. With years of experience, expertise and knowledge of working in different countries, we are each able to contribute to delivering successful projects both in Spain and abroad."
Ignacio Arganza, Solaer's Managing Director, said: "We have already worked on 40 megawatts of solar projects together, including a 5MW project in Cornwall in the UK last summer. Conergy has extensive knowledge of the UK, and we needed an experienced partner on whom we could rely on one hundred per cent. This know-how and the excellent experience we have had with Conergy in the past tipped the scales."
British market has grown 18-fold since 2010 and offers further potential
Conergy has been active in the UK since 2010, establishing a subsidiary in Milton Keynes near London in 2011. Since the introduction of solar subsidies, the market has developed quickly. From 2010 to 2011, installations increased by a factor of more than 10, from 50MW to 550MW. In 2012, installations reached just under 900 megawatt – eighteen times the 2010 figure. The outlook remains good despite continuing debate over government subsidies for the technology.
Currently, roof-top installations predominate in the UK, but large solar farms are becoming increasingly important, as system prices have seen significant falls, and following the introduction of Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROCs) for large solar plant in spring 2012. Operators are able to trade these certificates and sell the electricity produced to energy suppliers. Conergy is well positioned in both large rooftop plants and solar farms, with a network of partners and installers and over 14 years of experience in the industry.
Solar farms have a significant role to play in the future in the British solar market
Robert Goss, Managing Director of Conergy UK and Ireland, said: "We expect the UK market to grow by 13% per annum with 1.1 gigawatts installed by the end of this year, rising to 1.3 gigawatts a year in 2015. Given the incentive structure, solar farms have a significant role to play here, but large and small rooftop installations will also increase, driven by rising gas prices and the cost and time required to build new gas or nuclear plants."
Large ground-mounted plants currently receive 2 ROCs for each megawatt hour produced. When traded, each certificate costs around 40 British pounds, or approximately 46 euros. The four Solaer parks will thus receive around 28,000 certificates worth 1.1m British pounds or 1.3m euros. In addition, the plant operators will be able to sell the electricity to energy suppliers at a fixed price via so-called "Power Purchase Agreements" (PPAs).