UK property and energy developer Banks Group today said it is entering the solar energy market with plans for a 5-MW photovoltaic (PV) project.
The family-owned company's renewable energy unit, Banks Renewables, plans to build the 5-MW PV facility at the site of its existing 20.4-MW Penny Hill wind farm in South Yorkshire, England.
Banks Renewables has so far constructed seven wind farms in northern England and Scotland. It has planning permissions for more than 190 MW of onshore projects and planning applications at different stages of development for over 250 MW.
"Using a mix of different energy generation technologies has to be the way forward, and having established a strong portfolio of onshore wind schemes, we're now looking to extend Banks Renewables' operations into the solar PV sector," said Phil Dyke, development director at Banks Renewables. The firm has a number of potential locations in mind for more solar projects, Dyke also said.
The news comes as the UK wind industry is awaiting an announcement of how the country's new Conservative government will deliver its pre-election pledge to end new subsidy for onshore wind farms. The Telegraph reported last week that this has been delayed due to fears of a legal action by the industry and a row with the Scottish government.
According to figures by the Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC), UK's installed solar PV capacity has reached 6.56 GW at the end of April 2015. This compares to 5.24 GW at end-December 2014. The first quarter was especially hot as developers rushed to complete 5-MW-plus projects ahead of planned changes to the Renewables Obligation (RO) scheme.
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