Even if clichés about the weather in Great Britain usually conjure up notions of cloudy skies and constant rain – in reality the island offers a lucrative location for solar energy producers. “Years ago, when we installed our first array on the roof of a production hall in northern England, even we were surprised by the amount of electricity it produced,” recalls Christian Linder, CEO of Athos Solar. “Today we know: if you look at the average for a year, photovoltaic arrays here often put out only 10 percent less energy than if they were installed in Germany, for instance.” Taken together with the attractive financial allowances currently offered, this makes solar energy a lucrative investment proposition, even in the UK.
After having developed and implemented several large-scale photovoltaic arrays in Germany over the past few years – for example, in the towns Britz and Weitgendorf in Brandenburg – the Hockenheim-based solar energy experts’ first solar parks commenced operation in Great Britain at the end of March. All three are in the greater metropolitan area of Birmingham. Work began on the first system, which employs 33,000 cutting-edge photovoltaic modules from Canadian Solar, in Condover in November 2014. Generating a total output of 10.15 MWp, it was set up on a 24-hectare plot in cooperation with the Spanish Grupo Zaragoza. The inverters were supplied by the Spanish manufacturer Power Electronics.
Since November of last year, Athos Solar has completed not one but two interconnected solar parks at Glebe Farm, Podington. Taken together, they cover an area of 55 hectares, and their 111,000 photovoltaic panels generate ca. 34 MWp, making the joint park one of the largest and most powerful in Great Britain today. Here, too, the photovoltaic modules were provided by Canadian Solar; the inverters came from SMA. The parks were erected in cooperation with Bejulo GmbH.
The over 50 million pounds (68 million euros) in investments needed to build all three facilities were initially covered by Athos Solar itself. The completed parks were subsequently purchased by UK-based NextEnergy Capital. “Our advantage is that with the Weidenhammer Group we have a reliable, financially robust investor, which allows us to initially foot the bill for major projects like the parks at Glebe Farm and then look for a suitable buyer at our leisure,” says Christian Linder. “As such, we plan to install further large-scale solar parks in Great Britain, and are constantly on the lookout for attractive locations.”
About Athos Solar
Based in Hockenheim, Germany, Athos Solar GmbH is a manufacturer-independent project development company for large-scale photovoltaic arrays. As a member of the Weidenhammer Group, Athos has at its disposal a permanent investor, allowing it to either independently construct arrays or to work closely together with concrete sponsors. In both cases, Athos attends to all process phases, from selecting the appropriate investment size and optimal investment structure, to manufacturing ready-to-use photovoltaic arrays. Upon request, Athos can also manage and maintain the arrays on the basis of a service level agreement. For further information please visit www.athos-solar.de.
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