INRG Solar Ltd (‘INRG’) was set up in 2009 to develop large-scale solar PV projects throughout Europe and has quickly built up one of the largest portfolios in the UK. The company today continues to develop its global investment portfolio, focusing on a range of embedded generation technologies.
In August 2016 SMS Plc was commissioned by INRG to assist in an embedded generation project at Manor Farm on the Wasing Estate in Berkshire.
With INRG transforming the 11 hectare site into a 4.99 MW solar farm consisting of 18,864 panels, we were brought in to project manage the connection of this new electricity supply to the network (at a connection voltage of 33kV).
We provided INRG with support for all technical and legal aspects of the connections process, finding the most practical and cost effective solutions to the project’s ongoing challenges.
From and engineering perspective, our services include:
- procurement of new electrical Distribution Network Operator (DNO) quotations for both import and export connections;
- a detailed independent review and impartial recommendations on selecting an Independent Connection Provider (ICP);
- management of both the DNO and ICP’s new connection design and physical works;
- coordination between connection works and the responsibilities of all the project stakeholders
Through our specialist wayleaves department, we:
- were instrumental in agreement of Head of Terms for sub-lease of the DNO’s on-site substation;
- guaranteed the project’s momentum by facilitating a quickly-completed wayleave agreement;
- proactively addressed legal scrutiny of the sub-lease (given the project’s high value);
- were highly influential in allowing installation and retention of the DNO’s apparatus within the project timescales.
Challenges and Achievements
Faced with a number of challenges, we:
- prevented a minimum three-month delay to the project by actively steering the DNO to agree to an alternative point of connection arrangement, avoiding full section 37 overhead lines consents;
- avoided a number of conflicts with the ICP’s cable route and substation design by providing guidance on amendments to the proposed site layout;
- prevented the project programme from being jeopardised by providing guidance on complicated vehicular site access requirements;
- used our expert industry knowledge to direct the contractor in arranging a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) and installation of electrical meters within a tight window;
- assisted following further complications on-site during final energisation, allowing the necessary power export evidence to be provided to Ofgem;
- instigated the exchange of technical information between the EPCS contractor and ICP, arriving at a viable design for the customer’s export monitoring facility.
The final outcome was a project delivered on budget within an ambitious 11-week build programme. This enabled the client to meet the final 31 March 2017 cut0off dare for Ofgem registration under the ROC scheme, allowing a viable revenue stream to be created.
The Manor Farm project threw up many challenges, requiring practical solutions that were viable from both a cost and timeline perspective in order to ensure that the solar farm was connected to the grid to qualify for ROC accreditation.
SMS worked closely with INRG, its ICP and EPC throughout the design and build phase to ensure that the solutions proposed were cost-effective, and more importantly, deliverable within the short timeline available.
Over the past 10 years INRG Solar Ltd has engaged the services of SMS for projects with grid connections from 11kV up to 132kV, and would have no hesitation in recommending SMS for similar projects.
INRG Solar Ltd – November 2017
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