‘Exemplar’ Solar Farm starts producing energy

Flexible energy provider Conrad Energy has announced that its Larport Solar Farm has started producing energy. It is expected to produce 40,000 MWh of renewable electricity annually, equivalent to powering 11,000 homes.

The launch of the farm was marked by a ceremony with key figures from Conrad Energy, including CEO Steven Hardman, Ethical Power’s CEO Tom Kneen, along with representatives from BNP Paribas. As a founding member of the Net-Zero Banking Alliance, the bank will use the generated energy to reduce carbon emissions in its UK operations.

Over its 40-year lifespan, the Hertfordshire farm is expected to offset approximately 375,000 tonnes of carbon, with BNP Paribas receiving the power under an initial 15-year Power Purchase Agreement.

The design of the farm was developed in consultation with the local community, with the final proposal described as an ‘exemplar’ by the Chair of Herefordshire Planning and Regulatory Committee. With 40 hectares of native wildflower grassland having been created during the construction of the project, and pairs of rare native black poplars having also been planted, the project provides the local community with significant biodiversity net gain.

Meanwhile, during the construction of the farm, Conrad Energy fitted solar panels to the roof of the nearby Mordiford Church of England Primary School, which will help reduce energy costs through the provision of locally generated renewable energy.

Larport Solar Farm is the latest in Conrad Energy’s growing pipeline of projects, with the company already hosting a potential 950MW of energy generation and battery storage across its 85 sites in the UK.

Principal contractor Ethical Power delivered design optimisation and full-wrap engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) services for Conrad Energy’s Larport Solar Farm. Ethical Power will also provide operation and maintenance services for the site.

Steven Hardman, CEO of Conrad Energy, comments: ‘The switching on of the Larport Solar Farm is an important moment for both Conrad Energy and BNP Paribas. We have found in the bank a company that shares our commitment to help the UK realise its net-zero ambitions. Solar has a significant role to play in the energy transition and so I look forward to seeing further projects switch on in the future.’

Emmanuelle Bury, UK Country Head, BNP Paribas, comments: ‘BNP Paribas is already known as the bank helping finance the energy transition, and our agreement with Conrad Energy demonstrates our commitment to living our values. It is a vital step on the path to net zero banking.’

Tom Kneen, CEO of Ethical Power, comments: ‘The delivery of Larport Solar Farm was full of challenges, but thanks to our unique vertical integration, we could complete the construction on time and to the highest standards, despite one of the wettest winters on record. It was the power of people that made Larport happen, both within Ethical Power and our exceptional partnership with Conrad Energy.’

Paul Day
Paul is the editor of Public Sector News.


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