Solar Farm Development – The Need for Speed

As we predicted in our reaction to DECC?s review of the Renewable Obligation (RO) incentive in May 2014, there has been a move towards solar farms schemes under 5MW.  The developers we work with are now accepting sites as small as 2MW, which opens the door for smaller areas of land and sites with far smaller available grid capacity than would previously have been attractive.

Smaller Solar Farms Popular

Our daily liaison with the grid operators (DNOs) has revealed a surge in applications for these smaller connections, but also that there are pockets of grid capacity remaining.  However, pin-pointing exactly where these opportunities lie requires considerable expertise and understanding.

Contracts for Difference Uncertainty

For larger solar farms greater than 5MW, DECC has now confirmed the mechanism and budgets for the ?Contracts for Difference? (CfD) Auctions – the new incentive scheme replacing the RO.  The first CfD Auctions are scheduled for October 2014 and, whilst the outcome is as yet unknown, there remains an appetite amongst the largest developers for bigger sites with cost effective grid connections and potentially high photovoltaic performance.

Grid Capacity Still Falling

As grid capacity continues to diminish apace, moving quickly is as vital as ever if a landowner is to secure a grid connection ahead of his neighbours.  The Energy Assets approach of rapidly securing capacity for a landowner before he has committed to any single developer puts him in a far stronger position.  This is becoming ever more important, as DECC?s review has forced developers to constrain their costs.  Introducing competition between credible developers will help to ensure that competitive ground rents and other lease terms are achieved.

The Need for Speed

Given the need for speed, the Energy Assets team is turning around initial site feasibility studies within 48 hours and has been submitting full grid applications within hours of receiving landowner authority.

If you have a potential site that you would like us to assess, without charge or obligation, please contact the Energy Assets team on 01993 830571 or email without delay.

Lucy Taylor

By: Lucy Taylor

Lucy is a Chartered Surveyor and Operations Manager at Energy Assets, liaising daily with developers, DNOs and lawyers, and always on hand to offer support and expert advice to clients and their agents.