UK: Martifer Solar to develop 50 MW of projects


Martifer Solar is continuing to build its project pipeline in the United Kingdom, announcing a new set of five photovoltaic power plant projects. The projects will be developed in the counties of Wiltshire, Swindon, Kent, Devon and Hampshire. The company says it intends to sell the ready-to-build projects by the end of 2013, when the licensing period is completed.

The U.K. "is becoming a truly high potential country for this industry, unlike much of Europe, where the solar market is already mature," João Cunha, country manager of Martifer Solar in the U.K., said in a statement announcing the projects.

Martifer Solar has been active in the U.K. since 2011, and has previously developed 28.1 MW of projects in the country. The projects have capacities of between 4.4 MW and 6.63 MW and were sold to Lightsource Renewable Energy. Martifer is also the O&M provider for these plants, and hopes to establish itself as an O&M provider for third party photovoltaic installations in the country.

Bloomberg reported in July that the British Photovoltaic Association has reported that photovoltaic developers in the country are increasing the size of solar parks, as cost reductions outpaced the reduction in FITs. The increased size of the Martifer planned installations seems to confirm this. Bloomberg quoted Reza Shaybani, the British PV Association head, as saying that returns of between 8 and 12 percent can be generated from utility scale installations.

In its release today, Martifer Solar has noted that the U.K. has targeted as much as 22 GW of solar capacity to be added in the country by 2020.

Greg Barker, the U.K.’s Minister of State for Energy and Climate Change, took to Twitter earlier today to note that the solar market in the country is seeing measured but healthy growth. Pointing to a Bloomberg report, Barker wrote: "Encouraging analysis pointing to steady growth for U.K. solar energy market." The video report noted that the commercial rooftop market is showing "slow but steady" growth.

The U.K.’s Department of Energy and Climate Change is currently drafting ‘sustainability criteria’ for the development of solar parks in the country, in response to opposition to utility scale solar raised on the grounds that it damages the aesthetics of the countryside. pv magazine has been told that the regulations can be expected to handed down this autumn.