The Anonymous Widower

Cleve Hill Solar Park

This document from the Department of Business, Industry and Industrial Strategy lists all the Contracts for Difference Allocation Round 4 results for the supply of zero-carbon electricity that were announced yesterday.

There were sixty-six solar power projects, that totalled up to 2.2 GW, which gives an average size of 33.3 MW.

I looked at the list and found the following.

  • All contracts had the same strike price of £45.99 per MWh.

The largest solar farm with a contract is Cleve Hill Solar Park.

  • ,Cleve Hill Solar Park received a contract for 112 MW.
  • According to Wikipedia, the solar park will have a battery of 700 MWh.
  • Will the battery enable the solar park to supply 112 MW on a twenty-four seven basis?
  • According to Wikipedia, solar farms have a capacity factor of about 10 % in the UK.
  • The Cleve Hill Solar Park will have a capacity of 350 MW.
  • On a typical day, it will generate 350 * 24 *0.1 = 840 MWh
  • The Contract for Difference mechanism  means they get the strike price for each MWh of electricity up to the level in the contract, which is 112 MW.
  • I suspect that for several months of the year, the solar park will be able to supply 112 MW to the grid.
  • I do feel that overnight and on sunless winter days, the system will provide a lot less electricity.
  • This page on the EMR web site explains Contract for Difference mechanism.

This extract from Wikipedia, describes, the solar park’s connection to the National Grid.

Across the marsh run the 400kV powerlines of the national grid. They are supported by eight 40m pylons. There is a large 150/400kV electricity substation at Cleve Hill, serving the London Array offshore wind farm that lies to the north beyond the mouth of the Thames Estuary. The output from the Solar Farm will use this substation to connect to the grid. Here, a battery array will placed, that will charge from the sunlight during the day and release the energy at night when it is needed.

I can build a table showing the earnings on a per day and per year basis, against average output.

  • 20 MW – £22,076.20 per day – £8,057,448 per year
  • 50 MW  – £55,188 per day – £20,143,620 per year
  • 70 MW – £77,263.20 per day – £28,201,068 per year
  • 100 MW  – £110,376 per day – £40,287,240 per year
  • 112 MW – £123,621.12 per day – £45,121,708.80 per year

Note.

  1. I have assumed the year is 365 days.
  2. As a time-expired Control Engineer, I know that the battery can be optimised to supply the electricity, when it is needed and the price is highest.
  3. I wouldn’t be surprised to see co-operation between the London Array and Cleve Hill Solar Farm, as on a sunless but windy day, there may be scope to store excess wind energy in the battery for later release.

On this brief look, it appears that owning a solar farm, can be a nice little-earner.

Thoughts On The Battery

Consider.

  • According to Wikipedia, the solar park will have a battery of 700 MWh.
  • One of the largest lithium batteries in the UK is the one at Clay Tye in Essex, which is just under 200 MWh.

I suspect that lithium ion batteries will not be used.

Highview Power are building a 250 MWh battery in Manchester.

  • This battery will be able to supply 50 MW.
  • The batteries use liquid air as an energy storage medium.
  • The company says the design can be extended up to a GWh by adding more tanks for the liquid air.
  • The only fossil fuels used in Highview’s batteries is probably some lubricating oil.

I feel that a Highview battery or something similar would be an ideal solution at Cleve Hill Solar Farm.

I should be noted that the London Array is a 630 MW wind farm, so the London Array and Cleve Hill Solar Farm have a combined nameplate capacity of 980 MW.

I feel there is a case for a larger battery at the substation, to give the grid an almost-guaranteed GW all day.

It would be large than most if not all gas-fired power stations.

It could be used to balance the grid.

The controlling software would optimise the finances by buying and selling electricity at the right time.

July 9, 2022 - Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage | , , , ,

5 Comments »

  1. Whats going to be interesting again is if the price for average price for electricity is still in the £150-200/MWh how many of these installations may take a risk and not elect to opt into the CfD. Remember anything they produce when the strike price is below the system price means the difference has to be paid back. The next thing to note is the strike price of £45.99 per MWh is at 2012 prices so would be £55 in 2022 cash level and as it CPI linked even better in 12mths time! That said the rate for this round is substantially less than the last time solar got awarded and that despite the supply chain issues in the renewable market.

    Now my negative comment. This solar park along with too many are taking farmland out of production just at out time when food security is deteriorating and really should be a last resort. Before we take farming land there should be a mandate that all suitable buildings are retrofitted and for any new building they have to be incorporated. We have several large warehouse schemes that have just been built nearby without huge roof space without solar panels on them. Also as i said on one of your earlier postings all renewables should have an element of mandatory battery storage / electrolysers built as well to qualify.

    Comment by Nicholas Lewis | July 9, 2022 | Reply

  2. I agree with you that all large buildings should have solar panels on the roof. In fact, post-Grenfell, there needs to be a thorough review of building regulations.

    As to taking farmland out of production, I feel it does depend on the grade. A farmer friend has a farm, which has some of the heaviest land in Suffolk and in some seasons, it is very difficult to work. He’s actually found it more profitable to use one bad field to raise high quality Suffolk lamb, that is sold in big city restaurants at a premium. He also has a small solar farm of a few panels close by his house and farm buildings to provide some of the farm’s electricity. A surprising thing is that he’s found the hares have increased and he thinks the hares hide their leverets in the shortish grass under the panels. Last time I met him, he joked about looking for some pygmy sheep to keep the grass down under the panels.

    Every solar installation, needs to be thought through with care.

    Comment by AnonW | July 9, 2022 | Reply

    • I have seen sheep in one solar farm but currently thats the minority and in reality the panels obscure a large amount of sunlight reaching the grass anyhow (yes thats there point) that i guess quality of the past drops off. The other good use of solar farms is on reservoirs where they help reduce evaporation which seems like a no brainer to me but other than a couple of trials it hasn’t taken off in the UK compared to some Asian countries

      Comment by Nicholas Lewis | July 10, 2022 | Reply

      • There’s a couple in Yorkshire and one in London by Heathrow.

        I haven’t checked but are any of the solar farms in last weeks contracts floating.

        Comment by AnonW | July 10, 2022

  3. […] Cleve Hill Solar Park, I wrote about the largest, which will be a 350 MW solar farm with a 700 MWh […]

    Pingback by 2.2 GW Of Solar Farms To Be Installed In The UK « The Anonymous Widower | July 10, 2022 | Reply


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