Britain’s largest free-field solar park completed in six weeks


13 Jul 2011

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The 5 MW free-field park, completed by the Conergy Group, is situated in Hawton, near Newark on Trent in Nottinghamshire.

The ‘fast-track’ project was built in co-operation with Conergy’s local partner Lark Energy and was completed just six weeks after receiving the planning consent on the 24 May. The Hawton project is owned and has been developed by Lightsource Renewable Energy Ltd with funding from Octopus Investments.

"The project was clearly a race against time to meet the deadline of 31 July 2011 – but we made it, even more than two weeks beforehand thanks to our brilliant solar expert team," says Robert Goss, head of Conergy UK. "The deadline was imposed by the recent review of the Feed in Tariff (FiT) incentive payments for large-scale solar projects that are to be slashed by 72pc. All parties showed great determination to support this exciting project which will be one of a very few large solar projects installed in 2011."

The installation covers 14.6 hectares and 21,600 Conergy PowerPlus modules on about 40 kilometres of Conergy SolarLinea mounting systems were installed. Annually, the premium modules will produce 4,860 megawatt hours of clean electricity – enough to supply 1,300 homes.

Local support

Local residents have supported the green project from the beginning. Community research, conducted prior to the installation, showed that 100pc of the respondents generally favoured the idea of solar energy as a clean, renewable energy solution with no emissions. Some 92pc of those who came to an open event in March 2011 supported the Hawton solar park.

“The Hawton park is yet another landmark project for Conergy in the series of their large free-field solar parks all over the world," said Goss. "With this park, our solar experts have shown that we are able to build large-scale projects also in the UK, even though our core business and focus is and will be on roof-top installations. This is due to the FiT cuts on the one hand and due to our product portfolio and experience ‘on the roof’ throughout Europe on the other hand."

The market trend proves this to be right with a clear focus on small roof-top installations. Since the introduction of the FiT in April 2010, 27,000 solar installations have been registered, according to the British Photovoltaic Association, 91pc of these on domestic roofs.