The whole of the UK can now benefit from clean energy produced by solar, thanks to a new solar farm developed by Cero Generation and Enso Energy.
The new 49.9 MW Larks Green solar farm is the first in the UK to be directly connected to National Grid’s high voltage transmission network, with previous solar projects having been simply connected to their local Distribution Network Operator’s system. What this means is that clean solar energy can now travel further distances, potentially plugging energy gaps in parts of the country that don’t have any locally-connected solar farms.
Cero Generation and Enso Energy received a direct connection to the high voltage transmission network thanks to the installation of new switchgear, which was installed in collaboration with National Grid. Additionally, high voltage cable was run between the substation and the solar farm, which allows the solar energy to travel to the nearby Iron Acton substation just outside Bristol.
The solar plant comprises 152,400 solar modules installed across a 200-acre plot. According to the developers, it will generate an estimated 73,000 MWh annually – enough to power the equivalent of over 17,300 homes – and has the potential to displace 20,500 tons of CO2 each year compared to traditional energy production.
As with many renewable energy projects, Cero Generation and Enso Energy plan to co-locate the Larks Green solar farm with a 49.5 MW / 99 MWh battery energy storage system. However, that system is not yet operational, with it expected to reach financial close shortly.
Marta Martinez Queimadelos, CEO of Cero Generation, commented, “We’re proud to be celebrating a major step in the UK’s renewable energy mission and in our journey into battery storage, recognising the vast benefits of co-location in moving the green transition forward and 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 and enable the rapid deployment of much more clean energy.
“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. I’m immensely proud of the dedication and collaboration of the Cero, Enso and National Grid teams in achieving this important milestone in the UK’s energy transition.”
Ian Harding, Co-founder and Director of Enso Energy, 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. We are now looking forward to working with Cero and National Grid to deliver the further pipeline of renewable energy projects in the UK portfolio to help achieve this ambition”.
Roisin Quinn, Director of Customer Connections at National Grid, concluded, “Solar power has a critical role to play in the clean energy transition, so 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.
“This net zero milestone comes as we’re investing in the biggest upgrade to the grid in a generation, enabling more home-grown renewable electricity to power the country than ever before. We want to connect more, and faster, and are working with the government, Ofgem and industry to reform the connections process to accelerate Britain’s transition to a cleaner, more secure and affordable energy system.”