Primrose powers "one of the last" large PV farms in UK

At a capacity of 49 MW, the Eveley solar farm is one of the largest in the country. Developed by Primrose Solar PS Renewables, the plant was successfully connected to the grid earlier this week. It is expected to generate enough electricity to power 15,000 typical homes and save around 21,500 tones of CO2 annually.

“We’re very pleased to have worked effectively with PS Renewables to complete work on what will probably be one of the last utility-scale solar farms to be built in the UK for some time,” Primrose CEO Giles Clark said in the announcement.

Commercial director of PS Renewables Matt Hazell described the new plant as “one of the most interesting“ the company has ever built, and suggested Eveley farm to become one of the largest ‘non-governmental’ private sites in the U.K.

The Eveley Farm project was granted planning permission in July 2015 and will shortly be accredited under the Renewables Obligation (RO) scheme, right before it closes at the end of this month.

RO winds down

Despite the traditional optimism expressed by developers whenever a large-scale solar project is completed and connected, Eveley farm may well be one of the last large-scale solar projects in the country for a while as the Renewable Obligation (RO) scheme for large-scale solar farms winds down.

The scheme now, is a bitter reminder of the recent changes in U.K.’s solar policies. British solar developer Lightsource announced this week that, considering the current economics of solar PV, the company would “not be able to grow the U.K.’s solar generation capacity without subsidy on non-private wire projects in 2016”.

In an open letter to Amber Rudd, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Lightsource’s CEO Nick Boyle wrote that the company is close to building subsidy-free solar in the U.K. However, this currently only applies to PV plants that are directly connected to the buyer – the company that uses generated electricity – through a private wire connection.

“This is crucial distinction, because the economics and rationale for these types of solar PV projects are very different from projects that feed directly into the national electricity grid and provide green electricity to the wider British public,” Lightsource’s CEO noted in the open letter.