U.K. renewables developer Gridserve says it has signed off a deal with Warrington Borough Council, Investec Bank and Leapfrog Finance for the construction of two PV parks, with capacities of 34.7 MW and 25.7 MW.
The developer said both parks will feature bifacial modules and one of them a large-scale, 27 MW storage system that offers a capacity of 30 MWh. The projects will mean Warrington BC will become the first U.K. local authority to generate all its electricity from renewable energy. The council, in the northwest of England, expects to bank millions of pounds per year in income from the plants.
Construction of the first, 34.7 MW solar-plus-storage park will begin across the country in York imminently, according to Gridserve, which is swimming against the tide of a moribund utility-scale market in the U.K. by constructing what would be the nation’s largest solar projects since 2016.
The second, 25.7 MW project will be built near Hull, also in the northeast of England.
The projects will deploy Suntech’s bifacial modules combined with a single-axis tracker by Nextracker. Using bifacial modules with tracking at such scale for commercial use is a novelty. Until now, only a small number of bifacial test sites – all with lower capacities – had been built in Europe. Similarly, there has not previously been an economic case to use single-axis trackers so far north.
“The reduction in capex costs for trackers now means that they also make economic sense in the U.K.,” Harper told pv magazine. “The primary interest for Gridserve in using trackers, however, is providing even more generation throughout the day, rather than the maximum output around 12 noon each day, which creates greater exposure to pricing risk.”’
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