Lynt Solar Farm
Wind Prospect assisted with the delivery to programme of the 27MW Lynt solar farm for German developer, BayWa r.e. The140,000 module site, located 10 miles north of Swindon in England, was energised on 26th March 2015. Construction began mid-December 2014 and at its peak involved a workforce of over 100 contractors and staff.
By the beginning of 2015, the UK had 5.1GW of installed solar PV capacity and DECC estimate this will double by 2020. Solar PV is therefore a key and growing part of the renewable energy mix, with an 85% support rating from the public. This, combined with confirmation from National Grid that the current network could support 10 GW of solar PV capacity without the need for significant upgrades, makes for an attractive market for some time to come, subject to appropriate policy regime.
The fundamental principles of a solar PV development reflect that of other renewable energy sources. However, as with any transaction, thorough due diligence is vital to ensure the process progresses quickly and as smoothly as possible.
Once a suitable site is identified, an investigation of the landowner’s title is imperative. This includes understanding site access and the ability to run cabling across the site and adjoining land, where access and cabling rights will be required to allow effective operation of the site. A tenant would need sufficient rights over the landlord’s neighbouring land.
Consideration also needs to be given to any existing covenants or rights which affect the site such as public footpaths, the diversion of which could also cause delays in implementing a scheme. Whilst the terms of the lease will vary from site to site, there are many provisions that are considered to be standard in the industry.
It is critical that the provisions of the lease are bankable to avoid potential issues, should the developer choose to raise debt funding for the project. The project’s technology should also be fully bankable.
It is clear that solar PV is set to play an important role in achieving renewable energy generation targets over the next five years. Landowners, developers and renewables professionals must ensure that they are aware of the issues that can arise in relation to solar PV developments. Whilst most will reflect challenges faced in other renewables transactions, due diligence work will identify specific considerations for the sector to help conclude if a project is viable and ultimately achieve the required return for investors.
Robert Speht, Wind Prospect Advisory Services’ new GM, said “Following our success in onshore and offshore wind we are focusing on major growth in 2015, advising the proponents of solar projects by combining new industry skills with proven expertise throughout Wind Prospect.
“We have a long history of delivering renewable energy projects, and those developing projects that value experience should contact us for a chat about how we can help.”