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6 November 2014

First Solar and BELECTRIC break ground on 4th UK project, to supply 45 million kWh

First Solar Inc of Tempe, AZ, USA, which makes thin-film photovoltaic modules based on cadmium telluride (CdTe) as well as providing engineering, procurement & construction (EPC) services, and Germany-based solar EPC firm BELECTRIC GmbH have broken ground on a new 46MWDC utility-scale power plant, in Oxfordshire, Southern England. When completed, the facility will produce 45 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of solar electricity per year, sufficient to power about 14,000 average homes or 25% of the estimated 55,400 households in the city of Oxford.

The project is the fourth to be executed in the UK under a First Solar and BELECTRIC joint venture, announced in 2013. With its recently built solar farms in Wiltshire and East Anglia, the JV is expecting to reach a total capacity of 80MWDC in the UK. Together, the farms generate almost 80 million kWh per year, while displacing an estimated 35,000 tons of greenhouse gases annually.

“Dramatic efficiency gains and increased cost competitiveness, particularly those driven by First Solar, have created an undeniable tipping point for solar power, not only in the UK but around the world,” says First Solar’s VP for Europe Christopher Burghardt. “Thanks to the UK’s renewable energy roadmap, solar PV will help reinforce the country’s efforts to address its need for sustained energy independence,” he adds.

More than 483,000 First Solar modules will be used to power the facility, while BELECTRIC is responsible for the construction and the balance-of-systems (BoS) requirements. By displacing 20,000 tons of greenhouse gases each year, the plant will help to maximize the share of climate-friendly power generation in the UK. The project will be in compliance with stringent sustainability standards designed to minimize its impact in the local environment, and to support biodiversity initiatives. Furthermore the land under the solar farm will continue to remain in food production, with sheep grazing the site, as was the case before the project was constructed.

“When we connect this project in the coming months, it will be the UK’s largest and most technologically advanced solar energy plant,” says BELECTRIC UK’s CEO Toddington Harper. “This single project will produce enough secure, home-grown, solar energy to drive an electric vehicle over 200 million kilometers per year,” he adds. “Combined with the fact that the land under the solar arrays will remain in agricultural use, with areas set aside to support biodiversity, this is a prime example of the multiple benefits that best-in-class solar farm projects can deliver to the UK,” he adds.

See related items:

First Solar and BELECTRIC connect three utility-scale power plants to UK grid

First Solar creates PV Projects JV with BELECTRIC

Tags: First Solar Thin-film photovoltaic CdTe

Visit: www.firstsolar.com

Visit: www.belectric.com

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