Excellent news for the United Kingdom! The first photovoltaic (PV) solar farm was connected directly to the National Grid transmission network last week, marking a major milestone in the country’s shift to renewable energy. Cero Generation and Enso Energy collaborated on this ground-breaking project, and their 49.9 MW Larks Green solar array is now linked to the National Grid’s 400 kilovolt Iron Acton substation near Bristol, England, according to a National Grid press release.
What’s more, this renewable energy source incorporates a 49.5 MW battery energy storage system (BESS) capable of producing up to 99 megawatt hours (MWh) of electricity. The novel solar-to-grid connection not only offsets 20,500 tons of CO2 per year as compared to fossil fuel energy production, but it also ensures optimal site efficiency by storing energy during peak production times.
Solar-to-grid connection fuels more homes with clean energy
This historic project is the first of its kind in the UK, and it is a critical step toward fulfilling the country’s 2035 carbon goals. As co-founder and director of Enso Energy Ian Harding put it, “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.”
The 200-acre Larks Green solar array is made up of 152,400 solar modules that will generate about 73,000 MWh per year. This quantity of energy is sufficient to power over 17,300 houses. Furthermore, by directly connecting solar energy to the National Grid, clean energy may be delivered further, allowing for larger projects to be connected in the future.
This innovative plan is not only good for the environment, but it also considers local wildlife. The solar farm and BESS design and layout incorporate establishing forests to offer food and shelter for a variety of protected species, resulting in “net biodiversity gain.” Cero Generation CEO Marta Martinez Queimadelos acknowledged her delight in this accomplishment, adding, “It represents true innovation that paves the way for others to follow and enables the rapid deployment of much more clean energy.”
Tandem solar and battery system helps UK reach net zero goals
The government’s objective of tripling solar energy deployment by 2035, including the installation of up to 70 gigatonnes of capacity – enough to power about 20 million homes – was reiterated in a recent study by the energy security initiative Powering Up Britain. With the completion of this solar farm, we can be optimistic that the country is well on its way to meeting its clean energy targets.
In a nutshell, this historic project represents a significant step forward in the United Kingdom’s renewable energy mission and our journey toward a net-zero future. More exciting breakthroughs in clean energy can be expected as co-located solar and battery storage systems are implemented, paving the way for a brighter and more sustainable future.