Ketton solar farm named best solar farm of 2014

The 9 MWp solar at Hanson’s Ketton cement works in Rutland was named best ground mounted solar farm of the year in the less than 10 MWp category at last night’s Solar Power Portal awards. The project was jointly developed by Armstrong Energy and Lark Energy.


Announcing the award, Solar Power Portal noted that this year’s judges were impressed by the project’s pioneering approach to managing the grid connection. The power from the solar farm connects into Hanson’s private 11kv network which is itself connected to Western Power Distribution’s 33kv network. Lark Energy, the installer of the solar farm, has designed the solar farm to enable active and reactive power management and to protect the grid from reverse current. This has a number of advantages, including minimising the need for costly 33kv upgrade work, reducing the energy costs for Hanson and enabling the inverters to be used as capacitor batteries at night. The project will generate enough energy to cover around 10% of the Cement work’s annual consumption.

“It has been very rewarding for the Hanson Renewable Energy Team to see the first of their projects come to fruition with the switch on of the Hanson Cement Solar Farm at Ketton” said Mark Cox of Hanson Cement. “This is the first of what is hoped are many such projects the company will be involved in over the coming years as we strive to reduce our CO2 emissions and energy costs.”

Jonathan Selwyn, Managing Director of Lark Energy commented “We are delighted to have worked with Hanson Cement and Armstrong Energy to develop this innovative solar project. Large scale solar is perfectly suited to projects such as this on previously used industrial land and where all the energy can be utilised directly by nearby businesses. We look forward to working on some further projects like this in the coming months.”

Steve Mahon, Director of Armstrong Energy added: “Armstrong Energy prides itself on being creative in structuring a deal to ensure all sides benefit. This project with Hanson and Lark Energy is an exemplar of this approach and includes an innovative power sales agreement that builds a sustainable market advantage for the host. We believe this approach can be used with large energy users both in the UK and overseas and we look forward to a long and successful partnership with both Hanson and Lark Energy.”

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