UK: Lightsource connects 215 MW of PV ahead of ROC deadline

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Lightsource Renewable Energy has connected 215 MW of new solar PV capacity in the U.K. ahead of today’s renewable obligation certificate (ROC) deadline.

Forty individual sites have been completed in the past few months, comprising 26 ground-mounted solar farms (ranging in size from 3.5 MW to 27.6 MW) and 14 further sites eligible for the feed-in tariff (FIT).

According to Lightsource, 23 of those projects were connected in December 2015, with a further 14 completed in March of this year – one of which was Europe’s largest floating solar array.

The company also recently signed a 25-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with Belfast International Airport for one of the largest airport-connected solar farms in the U.K. The 4.84 MWp PV plant supplies 27% of the airport’s annual electricity demand, Lightsource said, and the plant is hard-wired directly to the airport, which will serve to reduce its carbon footprint by 2,345 tonnes of emissions annually. The largest airport solar farm in the U.K. is the 5 MW Kernow solar park at Newquay airport.

"It has been a challenging 12 months for the U.K. solar industry and the next 12 promise to be just as tough," said Lightsource CEO Nick Boyle. "We remain focused on reaching a point of grid-parity for our projects in the coming years."

For the remainder of 2016, Lightsource will focus on developing more private-wire PPA projects similar to Belfast Airport, and is also due to begin construction on a 14 MW solar farm that was one of the few successful solar winners under the first Contracts for Difference (CfD) auction.