UK Vattenfall’s first large-scale solar farm has generated power for the first time. The project in Wales which covers 20 acres completed a two month construction programme with 18.500 solar panels installed in less than two weeks.

The solar farm has a capacity of 4.99MW and will annually generate 5.5GWh of electricity which is enough to provide 1,440 UK homes with renewable energy.

The solar array in southwest Wales is located adjacent to Vattenfall’s Parc Cynog wind farm and shares its grid connection with the wind farm.

Stephen Holdroyd

Hybrid scheme
Project Manager Stephen Holdroyd explains that the GBP 4.3 million investment will run for 30 years according to the planning application for the scheme. “By having hybrid schemes like this one which combines wind and solar you can reduce the Levelised Energy Cost (LEC) by sharing and fully utilising the grid connection. In this case the grid connection at Parc Cynog already existed.”

Tricky conditions
The solar farm consists of over 18,500 panels which weigh approximately 18kg each. The installation was originally planned to take place during the summer but a decision by the British government to change the subsidy scheme, forced the project to advance the process. “The installation itself is quite simple. But the conditions on-site during the winter and early spring could have been better. We had multiple teams who succeeded in installing all the PV panels in eleven working days even though they had to work in very muddy conditions,” says Daniel Wills, Associate Project Manager.

He and Stephen Holdroyd agree on the advanced construction plan as the biggest challenge for the project. “It has been really stressful and hard to find contractors since we weren’t the only ones wanting the finish a solar project before the end of March ROC (renewables obligation certificate) deadline.”

Facts solar photovoltaic energy
According to the IEA (International Energy Agency) the world has added more solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity since 2010 than in the previous four decades. Total global capacity overtook 150GW in early 2014. PV system prices have been divided by three in six years in most markets, while module prices have been divided by five.

IEA has predicted that PV’s share of global electricity will reach 16% by 2050.

Technology Roadmap: Solar Photovoltaic Energy - 2014 edition
Parc Cynog solar farm

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