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Three new solar parks in the UK coming soon

22 July 2021

Great Britain is increasingly switching to renewable energy. Three solar parks built by EQUANS are making a significant contribution.

Three parks in Yorkshire and Oxfordshire, constructed through EPC contracts (Engineering Procurement Construction), all-in turnkey contracts for the construction of solar panel parks. For each park, the developer looks for land that offers a suitable location to connect to the electricity grid and for which a building permit can be successfully applied for. In the case of the three projects in Great Britain, it is one and the same developer. The financiers are Greencoat Capital for two of the parks and Low Carbon Hub for the third. The latter is a community-owned organisation that develops installations for the production of renewable energy.

It’s moving forward

The schedule followed by the EQUANS teams is always the same: first they build the roads and process facilities, then they place fencing around the site, finally they dig in the high-voltage cabling. Finally, the simultaneous installation of the solar panels and connection to the customer’s on-site substation is started. Currently 30 to 40 percent of the assembly structure is ready in the first park; in the last, road construction has just started. The three parks will be completed in September, November and December 2021 respectively. At peak times, between one hundred and two hundred people will work there.

Hommes travaillant sur des plans
Parc de panneaux solaires

Bi-facial panels

The parks are built on farmland. And sheep can graze under the panels at their leisure. This is because the lower edges of the panels are one metre above the ground. This is higher than usual. Bi-facial panels are being used – a new technology in which electricity is generated on both sides of the panel. The energy is fed directly into the grid via an injection contract with a grid operator; in two out of three cases, the buyer is the supermarket chain Tesco, which is using this initiative as a major part of its switch to green energy.

A project for people with a sense of adventure

The challenges in finding and developing a site are not small. For example, high-voltage power lines, gas pipes and rivers that cross the site must be considered. The protection of wildlife and rare plants is also high on the agenda for our friends across the Channel. Conservationists already noted that a couple of badgers had built a burrow on one of the sites, and that great crested newts also lived there. As a result, EQUANS had to adapt the construction of the installations so as not to disturb the living conditions of these animals.

Parc de panneaux solaires
Parc de panneaux solaires

Problem solvers

And there are other factors that influence the complexity of the project. First of all, Brexit. This makes getting people and equipment on site more difficult and more expensive. And then corona further complicated matters by forcing ports to close, bringing the import of parts and raw materials to a standstill. Furthermore, the delays caused by the container ship that blocked the Suez Canal and caused a sharp rise in raw material prices have added to the enormous challenges the teams were already facing. Fortunately, the EQUANS teams are real problem solvers!

100 MWp
Total capacity of the 3 sites
186000
solar panels
30000
tons of CO2 emissions avoided per year
+ 115
Hectare Total area
100 MWp
Total capacity of the 3 sites
186000
solar panels
30000
tons of CO2 emissions avoided per year
+ 115
Hectare Total area
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