First non-subsidised solar plant to be commissioned in the UK

The solar power industry in the UK has passed a significant milestone in the commissioning of the first solar plant without any form of government subsidy, a 10MW farm along with a 6MW battery.

The Clayhill Solar Farm in Bedfordshire was developed by UK-based energy firm Anesco without the need for any government schemes, such as Contracts for Difference or Feed-in Tariffs to subsidise the costs associated with the development.

Anesco’s executive chairman Steve Shine said: “For the solar industry, Clayhill is a landmark development and paves the way for a sustainable future, where subsidies are no longer needed or relied upon.

“Importantly, it proves that the government’s decision to withdraw subsidies doesn’t have to signal the end of solar as a commercially viable technology.”

The project, which will provide enough power for 2,500 homes and crucially offers energy storage to enable electricity to be used at any time of the day, will be inaugurated by the UK’s Minister for Climate Change and Industry Claire Perry.

In a statement, she 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.”

Perry added that ministers expect further installations of subsidy-free solar farms over the course of the year.