SCOTTISHPOWER has announced that the company construct solar projects for the first time by adding solar panels beside their wind farms.
This is part of the company’s new hybrid technology strategy to maximise onshore renewable energy potential in the UK and Ireland.
Speaking at COP25 in Madrid, Keith Anderson, CEO of ScottishPower, said: “Every green megawatt of electricity will be crucial if we stand any chance of hitting Net Zero in 2050, so innovation from energy companies is more important than ever. This means squeezing the absolute maximum potential out of every clean energy project that we consider.
“In the UK and Ireland the perfect of blend of clean power from onshore renewables should include a mixture of clean energy technologies. The costs for building wind, solar and batteries have reduced considerably in recent years, and they complement each other very well. They perform best at different times of the day and at different times of the year.
“As well as retrofitting additional technologies to existing sites, as we are already doing, our strategy going forward will see us deliver hybrid projects as standard.
“In the next 18 months I believe that hybrids will be the new normal for all renewable energy developers.”
To make the most of land resources and optimise connections the grid, ScottishPower intends to add a mixture of solar and battery technology at existing wind farm sites, with the vast majority of future applications for new projects consisting of more than one clean energy technology.
Planning applications have already been submitted to add solar technology to the existing wind farms of Carland Cross (Cornwall), Coal Clough (Lancashire) and Coldham (Cambridgeshire).
Further applications to add solar to wind farms in Scotland and Ireland are currently being developed, in addition to further solar projects in England.
Of over 1000MW of new onshore wind projects currently being developed by the company, it is anticipated that the vast majority of these sites will also include proposals for solar or batteries, or a mixture of both technologies.
The new strategy comes one year after ScottishPower became the first integrated energy company in the UK to solely generate 100% renewable energy.
In the wider Iberdrola group, solar is already a prominent feature in Spain, the US, Mexico and Brazil.
This includes the 500MW Núñez de Balboa solar scheme in the south of Spain, the largest solar project currently under construction in Europe.
Earlier this year the Scottish Government approved ScottishPower’s plans for a 50MW battery at the UK’s largest wind farm, Whitelee.
Read our story on Ireland’s plans to move to 70% renewable electricity by 2030.