UK council to deploy solar-plus-storage on landfill to generate income

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Cambridgeshire County Council considers using capped landfill sites in Woodston and Stanground – in Peterborough – to host solar-plus-storage sites, to generate new revenue.

EPC company Bouygues E&S has suggested construction of a 2.25 MW solar array co-located with a 10 MW battery storage system at the Stanground landfill. At Woodston, Bouygues has proposed a 3 MW battery without solar. Both batteries would provide demand side response services to the national grid.

According to project documentation, the council has estimated the Stanground site would bring in revenue of £1.4 million in its first year and Woodston a further £380,000, albeit subject to uncertainty.

The project proposal cites recent policy suggestions by the National Grid and energy regulator the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets, that would make tendering of grid services and balancing mechanisms more transparent and accessible.

In its business case summary, the council estimates the two sites would have payback periods of 9.4 years for Woodston and 8.9 years for Stanground, and a combined, 25-year net return of £45.9 million. The council owns the land at both sites.

“These projects are currently at an early, pre-planning application stage of development. The Council’s Energy Investment Team are engaging with local residents and businesses to gather their views on the proposals in order to inform the design of the projects and to inform further studies,” said a Council spokesperson. “These studies will be used to support a planning application in the coming months.”

The repurposing of closed landfill sites for solar-plus-storage is not new in the U.K. In October, West Sussex County Council commissioned a 7.4 MW solar farm co-located with a 4.4 MW battery storage system at one of its former landfills, also with the aim of raising revenue.

This article was amended on 23.01.19 to clarify in its use of language that the project is still at early application phases and add a comment by the council to further clarify that no final decisions have been made.