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Bourne-based Lark Energy (www.larkenergy.co.uk), part of The Larkfleet Group of Companies (www.larkfleetgroup.co.uk), has been praised for its innovative solar power business model in a report by leading industry group SolarPower Europe.
The report identified the Lark Energy solar PV installation at Ketton Cement as an exemplar of successful solar power.
It said that “deploying new and innovative financing mechanisms and business models is what can overcome the high up-front costs [of solar].
“There will always be some households and businesses with enough spare cash to be able to self-fund solar PV projects. But finance is what will allow solar to be accessible to a maximum number of power consumers and application segments if sufficiently attractive business models and projects can be put forward.”
The report said that Lark Energy’s ground mount onsite private wire power purchase agreement (PPA) is a potential future business model for the industry.
Lark Energy’s Paul Adams commented: “This significant industry recognition demonstrates that we can deliver successful solutions for large commercial clients like Ketton Cement. We can help them to reduce their electricity costs and generate revenue by selling surplus energy back to the grid through the installation of electricity-generating PV solar panels.
“Lark Energy’s sustainable energy solutions can reduce energy costs for businesses, whether on single or multiple sites.”
Lark Energy worked in partnership with Hanson Cement to design, develop and construct an innovative 12 MWp solar farm on 20 hectares of former quarry.
The first phase is 9 MWp consisting of 38,544 modules. The second phase is 3 MWp and is sited on an adjoining field of seven hectares. It consists of 12,100 modules which, together with phase one, generate enough energy to cover around 13 per cent of the cement works’ annual consumption.
The project was jointly developed by Lark Energy and Armstrong Energy with the latter providing funding partly through an innovative power purchase agreement (PPA) with Hanson. Under the PPA the cement company receives a proportion of the energy generated from the solar farm without cost with the remainder purchased at a preferential rate.
The solar farm uses LDK PV modules for a total peak capacity of 12 MW connected to the local 11 kV distribution networks. Revenues are derived from a mixture of Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROCs) – at 1.6 ROCs per MWh – Levy Exemption Certificates (LECs) and power sales.
Lark Energy designed the solar farm to enable active and reactive power management and to protect the grid from reverse current. The power from the solar farm connects into Hanson’s private 11 kV network on three separate circuits. The 11 kV network then connects to WPD’s 33 kV public grid network via a step-up transformer.