First subsidy-free solar power farm in Britain to be launched

26/09/2017 13:50 Renewable

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A solar power farm running without a government subsidy should open today in Great Britain, eastern England, due to more accessible renewable energy as costs are significantly decreasing.

Coal and nuclear plants planned to close in 2020s need to be replaced, therefore Britain has to invest in new energy capacity. However, another solution is to decrease subsidies on renewable electricity generation.

 

The cost of solar panels and batteries fell remarkably over the last years, and the first subsidy -free development at Clayhill is an important step for clean energy in the UK, as announced by the minister for Climate Change and Industry, Claire Perry. The electricity generation of the 10 megawatt (MW) solar farm, in Bedfordshire, Clayhill, is enough to power 2,500 homes. It also has a 6 MW battery storage facility.
For the sake of reducing increasing renewable subsidy costs, the government gave up on new subsidies for solar projects and onshore wind during the last years.

 

The decision of withdrawing subsidies does not necessarily signify the end of solar as a commercially feasible technology, as stated by Steve Shine, Clayhill project’s developer, clean tech firm Anesco.

 

Falling costs resulted in solar power capacity ascend in Britain to around 12 gigawatts (GW), from around 2 GW five years ago, and solar electricity hit a record in a sunny day in May this year, supplying around 25% of the country’s electricity.

 

Britain’s goal is to meet 15 percent of its energy needs from renewable sources by 2020, or an increase from 8 percent in 2015. 
The renewable subsidy auction for offshore wind hit a record low earlier this month in the UK, dropping below the cost of subsidies pledged to French utility EDF to build Hinkley’s Point C nuclear power plant.

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