Wirsol to acquire two ‘subsidy free’ solar projects in the UK

Two projects acquired by Wirsol Energy Ltd, the U.K./Australian branch of German Wircon Group, have become the latest in the U.K. to be declared ‘subsidy free’, after developer Anesco connected the country’s first project without state subsidy back in September.

The two projects – the 7 MW Outwood Solar Park located in Essex, and the 9 MW Trowse-Newton Solar Park in Norfolk – are scheduled to begin construction in January 2018. Wirsol says it is in the process of negotiating long-term PPAs for both projects, but that they are to be operated without state subsidized feed-in tariffs.

Wirsol also points to a further six unnamed projects with capacities between 7 and 45 MW that it plans to acquire, as well as its joint venture with Hive Energy, which is in initial stages of planning and applications for a 350 MW project in South East England.

Combining solar with energy storage has been a key element in other subsidy free solar plans for the U.K., and Wirsol says that these systems have been designed so that batteries can be added “as soon as their cost-effectiveness and guaranteed lifetime meet our investment criteria,” according to Wirsol UK Managing Director Mark Hogan.

“Although this step is already foreseeable today, we are still far from achieving our goal in terms of storage technology, so this section represents phase two of the project,” he said.

Since Anesco announced the UK’s first subsidy free solar project, several others have appeared on the horizon. The U.K.’s Solar Trade Association, however, has expressed skepticism over the business model and warned against withdrawing policy support for PV, previously stating, “It is only going to be exceptional projects that are built subsidy free. What we are asking for is a level playing field for solar power.”