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A breakthrough in solar power with Britain's first subsidy-free farm

Think Change India
27th Sep 2017
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As a steep decrease in the cost of renewable energy has made it more economical, Britain has set up its first solar power farm without government subsidy in Eastern England. The farm opened in Clayhill, Bedfordshire, on Tuesday.

Image Source: The Peninsula Qatar

The need to make investment in alternate sources of energy arises as the aging coal and nuclear power plants are to be replaced before they get closed in the 2020s. Also, Britain aims to decrease subsidies on renewable power generation.

According to the Indian Express, minister for Climate Change and Industry, Claire Perry, said,

The cost of solar panels and batteries has fallen dramatically over the past few years, and this first subsidy-free development at Clayhill is a significant moment for clean energy in the UK.

This 10 megawatt (MW) solar power farm can provide power to nearly 2,500 homes with the energy it generates. The farm will also have a 6 MW battery storage facility. It has been designed by a power company, Anesco, which specialises in developing solar and battery storage sites.

The government has made efforts to put a stop to the spiralling subsidy costs of renewable energy. It has started to scrap any new subsidies for onshore wind and solar projects in the past few years.

According to Reuters, Steve Shine, chairman of the Clayhill project’s developer, Anesco, said,

The project proves that the government’s decision to withdraw subsidies doesn’t have to signal the end of solar as a commercially viable technology.

The farm has been built near a town called Flitwick which already has a solar project. As per the analysts, it is important to build new projects near existing ones to help reduce the costs.

According to the Financial Times, a consultant for Cornwall Energy, Peter Atherton, said,

That makes a big difference because obviously a lot of the common infrastructure you need is already in place.

The decrease in the costs have resulted in the solar power capacity in Britain to increase to nearly 12 gigawatts (GW) from the 2 GW five years back. In fact, the capacity hit a record this year in May with the ability to provide power to nearly 25 percent of the country.

Britain aims to meet 15 percent of the country’s energy needs with the help of renewable sources by the year 2020, increasing it from 8 percent in 2015.

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