UK: Wirsol Energy connects 19 solar parks ahead of ROC deadline


Wirsol Energy Ltd has announced that it has successfully connected 19 solar parks located in England and Northern Ireland with a total capacity of 105.5 MWp ahead of the March 31 Renewable Obligations Certificates (ROC) subsidy deadline.

All 19 projects, which range from 20.5 MWp to 2.5 MWp in size, were plugged under the ROC subsidy scheme at 1.4/MWh for Northern Ireland and 1.2/MWh in the case of England.

The financing for the projects was secured by German bank Bayern LB in the form of a nonrecourse debt totaling around £88 million ($110 million).

“We have now financed well in excess of 1 GW alone in the U.K. market, and working with strategic partners such as the Wircon group is the key,” said Karin Scharamm of Bayern LB.

The power purchase agreements (PPA) were signed with Norwegian power supplier Statkraft and Northern Ireland’s electricity company Power NI.

In order to deliver these 19 projects on time and thus ensure their eligibility for the U.K. government’s ROC subsidy, Wircon collaborated with Land & Power, Solfen, 33 KV, Mind4Energy and Secure-Site, as subcontractors.

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“Wircon is now looking forward to further deployment of solar in the U.K. under non-subsidized schemes,” said Peter Vest, Managing Director of Wircon.

Ahead of the ROC cut off point, developers rushed to complete their subsidy-eligible projects ranging in size from 50 KW to 5 MW.

A similar scenario played out in March 2016, which saw the year’s greatest increase in capacity of 1,183 MW just before ROC subsidy scheme for large-scale renewable energy projects was closed to installations smaller than 5 MW.

In 2016, 1.94 GW of new solar PV capacity was added in the U.K.; a figure that is far below 2015 and 2014, which grew by 4.13 GW and 2.55 GW respectively. The UK Solar Trade Association points to the ROC program closure and the design of the Contract for Differences scheme, which is unfavorable for large scale PV, as the reason for this decline.

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