STEAG Solar Energy Solutions GmbH (SENS) will be building a solar farm with output of 50 megawatts (MWp) in the eastern English county of Norfolk in the months ahead. The permission to build the facility on previously agricultural farmland near the town of King's Lynn has just recently been granted. In addition to the solar plant, the project includes a coupled storage system for temporary storage of up to 15 megawatt hours of green energy.
SENS UK is cooperating in this project with Namene Solar Light Company Ltd, an internationally-based provider of solar technology and services. Together, the partners will construct the solar park on farmland that was previously used for intensive farming. "The project will therefore not only provide climate-friendly energy, but will also give the soil on which the plant is built the chance to regenerate," says Christian Kleinhans, who is responsible for the project at SENS.
With a calculated annual yield of 55 gigawatt hours (GWh), the new solar farm will be able to supply around 14,700 British households with zero-emission green electricity in the future, avoiding around 11,700 metric tons in CO2 emissions every year. "Thanks to the coupled electricity storage system, solar energy can be temporarily stored during periods of weaker demand and made available at a later time when demand is high or when there is less sunlight," Christian Kleinhans explains. The entire plant is designed for a service life of 40 years.
It is not purely the energy yield that sets the project apart, but also its comprehensive sustainability approach. In cooperation with the Borough Council of King's Lynn & West Norfolk, a management plan is being developed that will provide for additional ecological measures on and around the site. "One of the plans is to plant a hedge about one kilometer long around the solar farm, providing habitat for a wide variety of animal and plant species," Christian Kleinhans continues, highlighting that the PV system would thus also contribute to increasing local biodiversity. "Flower strips with wildflowers are also part of the ecological concept for the site," he adds.
For SENS, the new UK project is only the prelude to further activities. Together with its project partner Namene Solar, the company intends to add a further 200 megawatts of solar generating capacity to the UK grid over the coming two years.
SENS has been active on the British market for many years as a developer of solar projects and, as an O&M service provider, is also responsible for the operation of a whole series of larger projects. This renders the Würzburg-based solar experts predestined for making a relevant contribution to achieving the British government's climate goals, which include a 78 percent cut in CO2 emissions by 2035 compared with 1990s levels. This goal can only be achieved with a further significant expansion of solar energy – a task which, according to opinion polls, meets the approval of around 80 percent of Britons.