Opening of Britain’s first subsidy-free solar power plant and battery storage depot heralds new energy era

Clayhill solar farm and energy storage depot.
Clayhill solar farm and energy storage depot.

The UK’s first subsidy-free solar farm has been opened by Brit-Govt climate-change minister Claire Perry.

The 45 acre Clayhill solar farm and energy storage facility near Flitwick, Bedfordshire, has been built by renewable energy provider Anesco. It comprises more than 30,000 solar panels – enough to power 2,500 homes.

The solar farm is the first in the UK to be built and operated without Government subsidy, following a fall in the cost of solar panels by two thirds since 2010. To date the industry has successfully installed 12GW of solar capacity across the country.

Battery technology also has an important role to play in making renewable energy a viable part of the UK’s energy network by ensuring energy can be captured and stored for use when needed.

The Clayhill development features five battery storage units. These help maximise the usable output from renewable power sources such as solar, which generates different amounts of energy depending on the weather.

Claire Perry, MP
Claire Perry, MP

Claire Perry, Minister for Climate Change and Industry said: “This first subsidy-free development at Clayhill is a significant moment for clean energy in the UK.

“Solar panels already provide enough electricity to power 2.7 million homes with 99% of that capacity installed since 2010.

The government is determined to build on this success and our ‘clean’ growth strategy will ensure we continue to lead the world on the transition to a low carbon economy.

“The Government expects to see more developers install and connect subsidy-free sites later this year.

Steve Shine, OBE, Anesco’s Executive Chairman, said: “For the solar industry, Clayhill is a landmark development and paves the way for a sustainable future, where subsidies are no longer needed or relied upon.

“Importantly, it proves that the Government’s decision to withdraw subsidies doesn’t have to signal the end of solar as a commercially viable technology.”

This landmark moment for the clean energy industry comes after the Government set out its plans for a smarter energy system which set out a future in which energy providers will take advantage of new technologies such as battery storage to benefit consumers.

Yesterday, National Grid announced that more than half the UK’s electricity came from low carbon sources in the last three months, making it the ‘greenest’ summer on record.

27 Sept 2017

Pixie Energy

Pixie logo Pixie Energy is an incubator and a facilitator of strategic research and project work, focusing on energy regulation, policy and markets at the local and national level. Find out more about Pixie Energy here.

Local Energy Matters: Scotland

Local Energy Matters: Scotland is a free-to-download brochure with a focus on energy tariffs in the two Scottish electricity distribution regions, as well news on local energy and low-carbon schemes.

Previous editions can be download here.

Scottish energy market overview

You can read an overview of the Scottish energy market here.

Scottish Government energy feed