The companies said the new 5MW solar park at Hawton in Nottinghamshire is the UKs largest solar farm, adding that it was completed only six weeks after receiving planning consent on 24 May.
The developers are among a group of solar companies currently rushing to complete projects with between 50kW and 5MW of capacity ahead of changes to the feed-in tariff incentive regime that will see support levels cut by between 40 per cent and 70 per cent. Industry experts maintain the controversial cuts are so deep that any project which misses the deadline will become economically unviable.
"The project was clearly a race against time to meet the deadline of 31 July 2011, but we made it more than two weeks beforehand, thanks to our brilliant solar expert team," said Robert Goss, head of Conergy UK, in a statement. "All parties showed great determination to support this exciting project, which will be one of a few large solar projects installed in 2011."
The installation covers a total area of 14.6 hectares and features 21,600 solar modules and approximately 40 kilometres of mounting systems. According to Conergy, it will produce 4,860 megawatt hours of clean electricity - enough to supply 1,300 homes. The government controversially announced earlier this year that it was to cut feed-in tariffs for large solar installations with more than 50kW of capacity, in response to fears that a flurry of solar farm developments could eat up all the available funds for the scheme.
Ministers warned that without urgent reform to the scheme solar farms would secure money originally intended for rooftop installations, limiting the reach of the incentive scheme. The solar industry warned that the cuts would represent a major blow to investor confidence, with developers arguing that the new tariffs have been set at a level where large solar farms will not be able to proceed in the UK for several years to come.
As a result, developers have been forced to rush through projects currently in the planning system, leading to a flurry of solar farm openings in recent weeks, with developers such as Solarcentury and Ecotricity cutting the ribbon on new projects. Conergy said it would host an official opening for the solar farm on 1 August.
source: apec-vc korea
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