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Strengthening the market with solar energy

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Puriton & Summerway Drove

Two solar parks – Puriton West and Summerway Drove – have been sold to funds managed by alternative asset manager, Foresight Group.

The sale of the Somerset solar parks was finalised in February 2012 and the Foresight Group will now manage and supply enough green electricity to meet the energy requirements of 1,300 households

Element Power and BNRG Renewables were the developers on both the Puriton and Summerway Drove projects and together they constructed and commissioned the projects under the UK Government’s Feed-in-Tariff legislation.

Foresight Investment Manager, Ricardo Piñeiro, said:

“We are delighted to have strengthened our UK portfolio with this latest acquisition which achieves economies of scale across our UK and European portfolio.

Puriton & Summerway Drove

“Having raised more than £65m for the Foresight Solar VCT and Foresight Solar EIS in the past 15 months we will continue to add quality ground based PV assets to our portfolio.”

Element Power President and CEO, Mike O’Neil, said:

“We are delighted to finalise the sale of these two projects. It is clear testimony to Element Power Solar’s capital strength, deep knowledge of the photovoltaic market and ability to identify and establish high-class partnerships that we have succeeded when so many other projects failed because of legislative uncertainty.”

BNRG Renewables Director, David Maguire, added:

“Unlike many companies within the UK solar sector we have overcome various unforeseen challenges during the last 12 months.

“BNRG’s partnership with Element Power Solar has left us as one of a small number of developers to successfully commission commercial-scale projects in the UK.”

Puriton & Summerway Drove

Puriton and Summerway Drove were officially commissioned following a 3-month construction period. Initially a 12-month development timeframe was planned for both projects; however this was dramatically reduced as a result of changes to the UK’s Feed-in-Tariff in 2011.

Solarwatt and Electricity Solutions were the main contractors on the project and Landmark Practice provided environmental consultancy work for the projects.

During construction concrete foundations were installed for the transformers on the site. Steel and aluminium mounting systems were piled 1.5metres into the ground which meant that no concrete was required for the erection of the mounting system. Solarwatt photovoltaic panels were used on site along with SMA inverters fixed.

Once completed, Summerway Drove’s capacity was commissioned to 1.8MW, whilst the power capacity of Puriton was just under 4MW.

A habitat management plan ran alongside the project, which ensured that the local environment was protected at all times. As part of the plan badger gates were installed on security fences, a reptile habitat was developed and mixed seed planting will take place.

The Landmark Practice Environmental Consultant, Bernice Roberts, said:

“There is always a risk that ecological and environmental considerations can get lost in the pursuit of meeting such dramatically reduced timescales.

“The developers worked closely with us, from the beginning of the consenting process through to development. This ensured that the environmental considerations at these sites remained a priority throughout.”

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