Exclusive: Lightsource BP to develop 300MW PPA-backed solar pipeline

Lightsource BP is to deploy more than 300MW of utility-scale solar farms backed by power purchase agreements in the UK, Solar Power Portal can reveal.

The farms are to supply power to a series of as yet unnamed corporate counterparties up and down the UK, with contracts having been finalised in the last few months.

Speaking to SPP, Nick Boyle, chief executive at Lightsource BP, said that such a level of deployment would see the developer return to the level of activity last seen under the Renewables Obligation.

“We’ve gone through huge growth in the UK, then we’ve slowed down, but we’re about to go through huge growth again… We continued to be committed to the UK [and] from our perspective, this market was ‘when’ and not an ‘if’,” he said.

Details surrounding the price of the agreements has also not been disclosed, but Boyle alluded to being able to beat other forms of generation on price as technology prices have continued to slide.

“We’re now in a position where we’re able to take on other forms of electricity generation in PPA bidding, wind included, and win. Now that is a shocker in this country.”

Expanding on the position, Lightsource BP COO Kareen Boutonnat said that price volatility, coupled with long-term forecasts of increasing power prices, had resulted in an increasing number of C&I customers seeking to fix their prices as much as possible.

Furthermore, Boutonnat said that the UK was emerging as a market leader for PPA structure innovation.

“I think we have some quite innovative PPA structures that are paving the way for other geographies. I think the UK market needs to be super-efficient, and as a result, we’re definitely pushing the boundaries in terms of PPA-type structures,” she said.

Lightsource BP has been among the early drivers in PPA-backed solar development in the UK, the most recent example being a 6.42MW solar farm connected via a private wire to a manufacturing facility in Newtownabbey, Northern Ireland, in August this year. 

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