Work starts on UK’s largest solar plant

Construction of the UK’s largest solar and battery storage plant has begun after the
company developing it won the highest government subsidy yet for a sun-powered energy scheme, reports Gill Plimmer of the Financial Times (24 March 2023).

Project Fortress, which is being built on 890 acres of countryside at Cleve Hill near
Faversham in Kent, was granted development consent in May 2020 and was the
first solar farm to be approved as a nationally significant infrastructure project.

Once operational, it is forecast to generate enough renewable power each year to
meet the needs of about 100,000 UK homes.

Quinbrook Infrastructure Partners, the investment manager behind the farm, is
being supported by the government’s Contracts for Difference (CfD) scheme with
a 15-year deal in which it will be paid a fixed price for the electricity generated,
with revenues adjusted for inflation and the cost paid by consumers through their
energy bills. The price is equivalent to £56 a megawatt hour on 40 per cent of the
output.

The scheme is set to be completed and connected to the National Grid early next
year. It is the largest under construction in the UK, although an even bigger project
is planned by Photovolt Development Partners at Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire
that could provide enough electricityto power 330,000 homes.

Rory Quinlan, co-founder and managing partner of Quinbrook, said the UK had
“historically been very generous to renewable energy projects with a secure regime
that has been operating since the 1990s”.

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