UK's First Utility-Scale Solar Power Plant Gets Go Ahead
Image credit: Ecotricity
Our commenters may have mixed feelings about Ecotricity CEO Dale Vince's fancy electric sports car, but it is hard to deny that this man has done more than most to support renewable energy. When I wrote about Ecotricity's planned utility-scale solar plants in rainy-old England, the company was claiming it could have the project up and running by the end of the year. But TreeHugger sees a lot of promising projects that never come to fruition, so any such claims had to be taken with a pinch of salt. However, with planning permission now granted, it looks like the project will be going ahead with construction starting within just a few weeks. All being well, the project now looks set to be fully online by March next year. And it's all been made possible by some innovative direct financing. Located next to its existing wind park at Fen Farm, Ecotricity's new sun park will combine wind power and solar to provide a more reliable, less fluctuating energy supply. The solar portion of the project will consist of 59 rows,standing just 2 meters high, and will be located on a 4.7 acre site. With a capacity of 1MW, the company claims it will make enough green electricity for around 280 average homes each year for the next 25 years.
The project is also being funded by innovative means, with Ecotricity's new "Ecobonds" program that allows its customers, and others interested in supporting a green energy revolution, to invest directly in new power projects without having to install solar on their own rooftops. EcoBonds are on offer until the 10th of December, they are fixed rate, with an initial 4-year term, paying an annual rate of interest of 7%, or 7.5% for Ecotricity customers.
Exciting stuff from the folks in Stroud.