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Thread: Going solar..hopefully, maybe

  1. #1
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    Going solar..hopefully, maybe

    I have begun enquiries about offering an area for a 2-5 mw field solar farm. I am using a local company as i have asked them to quote for some domestic stuff and a 24 kwp system at my dairy... I asked western power to get the ball rolling for the field scheme and they sent me some rather complicated forms..

    My questions to you learned folk is do i fill in the forms (having first taken a course in electrical engineering) only to be crushingly disappointed when im told the nearest connection point is 2 km away or should i be asking wpd to do a desktop assessment of the local grid and tell me if a field scale system is possible...maybe filling in the form is the best way to ask that question?

    11 or 16 kva lines pass over the fields in question.. are these lines going to be man enough for any worthwhile solar park?

    Is there a simple answer? Or will it depend on how many shekels it will cost to install sub station/ big transformer...?

    As you can see, Im a bit clueless as to how to play it..

    Site coordinates....

    51 44 46 N 4 51 18 W


    Anyone?

  2. #2

    Re: Going solar..hopefully, maybe

    Hi FC2

    I'm afraid there is no short cut and you have to complete a G59/2 fully for WPD. And I'm there is no such service as a quick 'desk top' survey at this level.

    Your installers may be able to complete it but I'm guessing probably not.

    However you are doing the right thing and that is getting the Grid Connection Offer in your name as once you relinquish that you are very much on the back foot. I put together a recent blog which illustrates what I mean you can take a look here.

    Many developers will tell you that they need exclusivity in order to gain a grid connection as it is an expensive process but in reality most DNO's do it for free or very little cost - certainly not enough to sign away a very valuable asset

    If you need a point in the right direction or any help please feel free to call

    Kind Regards

    Mike Smith
    0796 462 9142 50 kW Solar OFFER

  3. #3
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    Re: Going solar..hopefully, maybe

    This link will take you to western powers line capacity map, just type in your postcode and it will come up with all the lines with the available capacity left - it's a start: http://www.westernpower.co.uk/Connec...acity-Map.aspx

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    Re: Going solar..hopefully, maybe

    OP, keep in mind that if you do have capacity nearby it may be a good idea to alter your location on the forum and remove the coordinates in your first post. Planning may be easier if there isn't already a hyped up action group sitting on your doorstep...


    Quote Originally Posted by windylamb View Post
    This link will take you to western powers line capacity map, just type in your postcode and it will come up with all the lines with the available capacity left - it's a start: http://www.westernpower.co.uk/Connec...acity-Map.aspx
    Windy, how do we interpret the information on that map? We already have 64kW of PV on sheds and have been told by the DNO (a few years ago) that we can't have any more than that. The map suggests our transformer at the farm has a capacity of 1200kW and 1km from the exchange that figure is 1130kW. We are certainly not interested in a field scale scheme but have additional roof space that could be utilised. The DNO that told us this was a Central Networks chap, we are now under Western Power so I wondered if anything is likely to have changed?

  5. #5
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    Re: Going solar..hopefully, maybe

    Thankyou for your replies folks.

    Foxbox you are probably right but I'm not too concerned about antis popping up to scupper my plans as Pembrokeshire doest really do anti solar campaigning, they will however have a go if you try to go wind turbine .. ive got a lovely spot for one.. or if you try to build a LNG plant... I am fortunate too to live in a bit of a backwater and all the fields are all but invisible from the unclassified roads that criss cross the area.

    I fear that being a backwater and thus only having what appear to be 16kva lines overhead that the project may be doomed anyway.. im not 100% sure but the transformer on a on this line has 16KVa stamped on it. What size line will nit need to be to take up to 5MW or is there no straight answer to that.. is it just a case of putting in a bigger transformer?

    Windy, thanks for the link, I too was not sure how to interpret the map, it seems to show that every address in the locality can plonk a 4kwp system in and no more.., despite the fact that i have been told that i can put in a 24kw system at my dairy. I must be missing something!

    Mike , thanks for the offer of contact for advice.. I feel that the local guys i am using may be a bit out of their depth on the 5mw system but Ill be meeting them next week to go through the 4kwp quotes and the 24kwp quote, so we will see then..

    What's with these solar consoles for ground mounting... can it really be true that as they do not penetrate the ground they are not classified as perm structures so planning isn't needed? It would be a boon if this were the case as our planning authority (pembs National Park) are not particularly enlightened or quick...

    thanks again
    owen

  6. #6
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    Re: Going solar..hopefully, maybe

    Mike Smith as ever gives good advice
    you need to do a GS59 to have any hope of ascertaining the possibilities
    however with your planning as being national park I fear you will not need Nimbies
    but asking the planners for views does not hurt.
    Having those lines across the field will definitely help if planners are agreeable
    you will need your own sub station if WPD agree

    The capacity of the system is far from straightforward, and will most certainly be affected by other applications in the area.


    if your own transformer is stamped 16KVA it will need upgrading to at least 40KVA to place 24KVp on your roof.
    Ixworth Solar Farming Ltd.

  7. #7

    Re: Going solar..hopefully, maybe

    Hi FC II

    And thanks for that Stephen

    Several points

    The overhead lines you need are 11 kV or 33 kV and from the 5MW perspective the transformer is pretty much irrelevant - being close to a primary 11 / 33 KV substation would be a boost but if there is an opportunity to branch into the lines then that would be OK. In essence however there are many DNO variables (as Exframer points out) that will only come to light with a G59 Application and any potential deal for a developer will be dependant upon DNO cost.

    As far as the National Parks are concerned I do not think they will be anti assuming the land is not criss crossed with footpaths / bridleways. I'm talking to Snowdonia NP at the moment about a 3MW installation and will let you know their thoughts. But it certainly doesn't hurt to have an initial conversation with them

    As per Stephen's point you will need planning for any ground mounts whether they penetrate the ground or not and any solar installation of this size will use land screws to hold down the mounts but your planning will almost certainly be for a temporary development albeit 25 - 30 Years.

    Kind Regards

    Mike Smith
    0796 462 9142 50 kW Solar OFFER

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    Re: Going solar..hopefully, maybe

    As for the interpretation of the map regarding the Western Power link, who knows? I was told it was the available capacity which included any formal connection offers whether they were connected or not. It was accurate for my location but it is only supposed to be a pointer not an answer. At least it shows what and where the lines are if nothing else.

  9. #9
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    Re: Going solar..hopefully, maybe

    Quote Originally Posted by hallmarksolar View Post
    Hi FC II

    And thanks for that Stephen

    Several points

    The overhead lines you need are 11 kV or 33 kV and from the 5MW perspective the transformer is pretty much irrelevant - being close to a primary 11 / 33 KV substation would be a boost but if there is an opportunity to branch into the lines then that would be OK. In essence however there are many DNO variables (as Exframer points out) that will only come to light with a G59 Application and any potential deal for a developer will be dependant upon DNO cost.

    As far as the National Parks are concerned I do not think they will be anti assuming the land is not criss crossed with footpaths / bridleways. I'm talking to Snowdonia NP at the moment about a 3MW installation and will let you know their thoughts. But it certainly doesn't hurt to have an initial conversation with them

    As per Stephen's point you will need planning for any ground mounts whether they penetrate the ground or not and any solar installation of this size will use land screws to hold down the mounts but your planning will almost certainly be for a temporary development albeit 25 - 30 Years.

    Kind Regards

    Mike Smith
    Thanks Mike,

    Your answer about the overhead lines has cleared up my main concern and confusion, it also gives me more siting options. I think i might get another form filled in..

    I also think you are correct about the national park. I have ploughed through the planning guidance and it seems there will be few issues.. but yes a conversation is the way to be sure.

    One conversation I haven't mentioned yet that i will need to have in one with Mainline Pipelines...... those land screws and all that copper cabling to disperse stray voltage will probably give them kittens if i go too close to their pipeline. Either way its going to be enlightening to see what their stance will be.

    I'll keep you posted. I expect to hear back from WPD fairly soon form went in last week..

    owen

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    Re: Going solar..hopefully, maybe

    Quote Originally Posted by ForegoneConclusionII View Post
    Thanks Mike,

    Your answer about the overhead lines has cleared up my main concern and confusion, it also gives me more siting options. I think i might get another form filled in..

    I also think you are correct about the national park. I have ploughed through the planning guidance and it seems there will be few issues.. but yes a conversation is the way to be sure.

    One conversation I haven't mentioned yet that i will need to have in one with Mainline Pipelines...... those land screws and all that copper cabling to disperse stray voltage will probably give them kittens if i go too close to their pipeline. Either way its going to be enlightening to see what their stance will be.

    I'll keep you posted. I expect to hear back from WPD fairly soon form went in last week..

    owen
    Absolutely certain you will need a cordon sanitaire over the pipeline. I think their easement will have this included, probably at least 24 metres wide
    Ixworth Solar Farming Ltd.

  11. #11
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    Re: Going solar..hopefully, maybe

    Spoke to pipeline bods and they said they want 10 ft each side of the pipeline and of course be able to get full access. Not too onerous. Oh and they said they dont want me using the pipeline as an earth rod......

    I got a letter today from a nationwide pv investor/ installer looking for sites in xs of 50 acres and offering over 1000/ acre. This of course was based on a desktop study and i am not particularly interested but given the funding is about to change for these huuge sites aren't they risking it a bit? I also see there are still plenty of ads in some of the more glossy country magazines...

    Not heard back from western power yet and i am contemplating another site about a mile away . I have a meeting lined up with my local guys but i am getting the feeling again that they may be happier with the little set ups and slightly out of depth with the bigger ones. The boss is coming this time so i might get a few things nailed down.

    Is there a simply web based tool for sun heights throughout the year?.. im trying to work out how much of a particular roof will be in shadow during the winter months. It is a south facing roof but there is a tall house about 30 m due south from it..

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