Solar energy firm Cero Generation and their UK partner Enso Energy have begun energising the UK’s first ever solar plant to be connected to the country’s transmission network. 

All other solar projects in the UK connect to local distribution networks, as opposed to the national high-voltage transmission grid. The 200-acre Larks Green solar farm will instead use switchgear to the national grid with voltages up to 400kV.

The 49.9MW, 73 GWh per year farm is already among the largest by capacity in the UK, but is the only one who’s power can be transmitted beyond the local area. The solar farm connects to the national grid’s 400kV Iron Acton substation via a high voltage cable. The farm is also co-located with 49.5MW, 99MWh battery storage.

Enso director Ian Harding stated: “Completion of this project is a major milestone for renewable energy in the UK and provides further evidence that co-located solar and battery storage projects connecting directly to the transmission network will play an important role in the delivery of the UK’s net zero plans.”

The UK aims to reach 70GW of solar generation by 2035. Enso and Cero alone will look to add 5GW of capacity from 38 energy projects in development. These will come across England in the form of both standalone and co-located solar battery systems. These will total $9bn of investment by 2026. The UK’s solar capacity currently stands at approximately 14GW. Solar proliferation has grown locally tis year, but this is the first major nationwide

Roisin Quinn, director of customer connections at the National Grid, said: “This net zero milestone comes as we’re investing in the biggest upgrade to the grid in a generation, enabling more home-grown renewable electricity to power the country than ever before.”