• NESF has completed and commissioned a 50 MW solar power plant developed without state subsidies in the UK
  • It has come up on a former airfield on the Bedfordshire/Cambridgeshire border
  • Together with the first subsidy-free project it brought online in August 2019, NESF has now energized 55.4 MW of its total targeted 150 MW subsidy-free solar power portfolio in the country
  • Southern Water Services is looking at procuring solar power under PPA arrangement from on-site groundmounted, rooftop and floating solar projects
  • It has issued a RFI round to seek information from interested developers to suggest how a total capacity of 10 MW can be installed

UK based operating solar power plants investor NextEnergy Solar Fund (NESF) has commissioned what it calls as the country’s ‘largest’ subsidy-free solar PV plant with an installed capacity of 50 MW. This follows the firm’s first subsidy-free Hall Farm II solar power plant with 5.4 MW capacity in Leicestershire in August 2019.

The new solar farm is located at Staughton on a former airfield on the Bedfordshire/Cambridgeshire border. It is designed to cater to the electricity demand of close to 15,000 UK households. Power generated by the project will be bundled with NESF’s existing portfolio of generating plants and sold under sales contracts already in place, it explained.

These two subsidy-free solar power projects bring 55.4 MW of capacity online out of NESF’s total targeted 150 MW subsidy-free solar power portfolio in the UK.

With the Staughton Solar Project, NESF’s total portfolio of operating solar plants has now increased to 755 MW in the form of 90 individual plants comprising three residential rooftop portfolios. It has already started work on its next subsidy-free solar plant, High Garrett, which is an extension of its 5 MW Kentishes project acquired in 2016. High Garrett will add 8.5 MW to the original plant and come online during H1/2020.

Southern Water RFI

In a related development from the UK solar space, private utility Southern Water Services Ltd has issued a request for information (RFI) to procure solar power through a power purchase agreement (PPA) to increase its on-site electricity generation by using a combination of ground-mounted, floating and rooftop solar arrays.

These projects can be set up on Southern Water’s sites in Hampshire, Isle of Wight, Sussex and Kent.

This RFI is in line with the utility’s efforts to increase electricity generation from renewable sources to 24% by the end of March 2023, from the current share of around 16.50% of its total electricity.

“In order to reach and exceed this target, Southern Water are looking to contract with a supplier(s) for the full end-to-end process of a Solar PPA with zero capital expenditure for an initial tranch of 28 sites to produce a minimum of 10 MW using a combination of ground-mounted, rooftop and floating arrays (site dependent). Potential sites and generation figures to be confirmed in due course,” reads the RFI. “The purpose of this RFI is to help Southern Water plan and gather all the required information that the market would expect to minimise the risks and maximise the success, should this be formally tendered.”   

The RFI is open until January 10, 2020. Details can be viewed online on the European Union’s public procurement portal TED.