Solar farms are a core part of achieving net zero in the UK however the potential grid opportunities to connect these solar farms are becoming thin on the ground, therefore making it vital that the solar farms are positioned perfectly to prevent development costs rendering a project financially unviable.
To promote the development of renewable energy projects, the government ran a funding scheme known as RCEF (Rural Community Energy Fund). This provided support to rural communities in two funding stages, the first funding stage being a feasibility study. Using this funding, a local community group in Bradwell Moor and Edge Lane employed the services of Potential Energy and Decerna to investigate the potential for solar farms.
Outline and Objectives
To decide if the project will be financially viable two key factors must be taken into consideration. These are the connection costs of the solar farms and the potential generation yield of the solar farms.
To do this, Decerna used PVsyst which is a software package which simulates the yield of the solar farms taking into account: their location on the globe, near shadings (such as trees and buildings) and size and type of the solar panels and inverters. For the connection costs, G99 budget applications were submitted to the relevant Distribution Network Operator (DNO), and results received from the design engineer at the DNO one month later.
Decerna undertook site visits to understand the potential of these sites for solar farms, and then used the data from PVSyst and the DNO within a financial model, created by Decerna, to understand the financial case for solar farms in these locations.
It was calculated that one of the two solar farms was profitable via a PPA (Power Purchase Agreement) with a value of over £50/MWh. The other solar farm would not have been financially viable due to the high grid connection costs.
We were delighted by the work of the team: their professionalism, approach and quality of work. They worked hard to understand our questions and were flexible and thorough in their reporting and follow up. Would have no hesitation in using them again.Andy Nash from Hope Valley Renewable