How a solar farm in Kent could bring a new dawn for renewable energy
The largest solar power plant in the UK which is planned to be completed within the next six months will be reviewed by the secretary of state. Cleve Hill solar farm will occupy the north coast of Kent, if all goes to plan the solar farm will supply up to 350MW (megawatts) of generating capacity.
It’s proposed Cleve Hill will generate the lowest cost electricity on the UK network without needing subsidies to stay secure. There have been subsidy free solar installations before, however nothing compares to Cleve Hill’s 1,000 acre development. The plant includes battery storage, giving operators the choice to store energy when the cost of electricity is low and selling when it’s high.
The rate of deployment hasn’t been the same over the last 10 years, largely determined by the quantity of subsidy the government was offering. When subsidies were high, the installation rate expanded dramatically, this was due to the numbers of installations doubling frequently. When subsidies fell, installation rates dropped drastically.
The government has so far analyzed solar power becoming a lot bigger by controlling subsidies. This boom and bust model meant businesses failed and installers lost their jobs in the worst of times, and organisations were created or changed business models in the good times.
Today, the installation rate is at its lowest due to virtually no subsidy and it’s extremely hard to make money out of solar. However, Cleve Hill could show that money can be made without subsidy, and where one project goes others will accompany it. This is the moment solar installations can continue to grow once again.