Conergy has acquired rights to build and operate two solar power plants in the United Kingdom with a combined capacity of 17.95 MWp from developer Solar Securities for an undisclosed sum.
The projects include a 13.5 MW installtion the company will build on a disused coal mine in South Wales. It has obtained permission from local authorities to operate the plant for 35 years. It will also construct a 4.45 MWp plant in the county of Cornwall in southwest England, where it has permission for 25 years on a 35-year land lease. When built and connected to the grid towards the end of the year, the plants will produce enough electricity to power the equivalent of 3,200 homes.
"Last year in the U.S. solar was second only to gas in new power capacity additions, and as the cost of technology reaches a very competitive level and capital costs continue to decline, solar will continue to grow rapidly in established markets like the U.K. and new emerging markets," said Alexander Gorski, Conergy's CEO for Europe. He added that Conergy had strong local networks globally and the company was always on the look out for good projects. "These two are excellent additions to our portfolio."
Conergy's projects business tripled in size globally in the first half of 2014 compared with the same period in 2013, with the U.K. making a significant contribution that the group expects will be sustained into 2015. The latest acquisitions bring Conergy's business in the U.K. so far this year to around 150 MWp of capacity.
Robert Goss, Conergy's managing director for the U.K. and Ireleand, noted that solar was increasingly eating into coal's market share globally, so it was fitting that the company was starting a project in South Wales, which produced much of the coal that powered Britain's industrial revolution. Goss described the site in Cornwall as "one of the best in the country, as it's on higher ground and away from the coast."
Power generation from solar doubled in the last twelve months in the U.K., producing a record 7.8% of demand on 21 June.