Global solar developer Wirsol and UK-based Tribus Clean Energy have submitted plans for environmental approval to build what would be the UK’s largest solar PV site which would also include large-scale energy storage.
The two companies, working jointly through Sunnica Energy, submitted its scoping report for the Sunnica Energy Farm which would consist of two solar farms, Sunnica East, located south of Worlington in West Suffolk, and Sunnica West, located south of Chippenham in East Cambridgeshire.
The pair would connect to the UK’s national electricity transmission network and boast a nameplate capacity of 500 MW.
Sunnica Energy Farm would use ground-mounted solar PV panel arrays and would be combined with electrical battery storage – however, according to the Scoping Report, the specific solar PV or energy storage technologies to be used have not been decided upon and “will maintain flexibility to allow the latest technology to be utilised at the time of construction.”
Given that construction could start as early as Spring 2022 and planned operation is set for Spring 2025, the project could benefit greatly from utilising the latest solar and storage technologies.
The Scoping Report anticipates Sunnica Energy Farm “could be either be built in phases over approximately 3 years, or constructed over a continuous period. At this stage, it is considered that a construction programme of approximately 15 months could be achieved if the Scheme was built in one continuous phase.”
“There are a number of different designs for the battery energy storage system that will be explored as part of the iterative design process,” the authors of the Scoping Report explained. “Maximum parameters for the compound layouts will be defined in the DCO application in order to present and assess a worst case in the EIA.”
The long and the short of the Scoping Report, however, is that very few decisions are being made so far out from potential construction, and only the most basic elements of the project have been nailed down; even the eventual size of the projects are unknown at the moment.