It is positive news to see that there should be subsidy free utility scale PV projects being developed by the end of the year. Also we should see a return to larger 40-50MW projects as developers will no longer be limited to 5MW under the old ROC mechanism. This will hopefully open up opportunities for sites that were previously considered a number of years ago. Integrating energy storage into these projects will also aid the economics and make projects viable going forward by enabling additional revenue streams. It really is fascinating to see how agile this industry is and to see how it has pivoted through changing legislation. One thing is for sure, solar PV will continue to provide an increasingly significant proportion of our electricity requirements.
The UK’s utility-scale market perhaps remains the most interesting considering the pace at which the market moves. More than 100 solar farms were connected in Q1 2017 – developers have quickly turned their attentions to developing solar without subsidies or incentives. Colville explained that activity in screening and scoping opinions for solar farms – all of which will now be developed without incentives – has increased of late and revealed he expected the first subsidy-free developments to come on line before the end of the year. Many of these will farms are likely to be paired with storage assets, particularly given National Grid’s EFR and capacity market schemes allowing asset holders to stack revenues and build businesses cases.