Centrica solar farm represents major boost for UK renewable energy

Posted on 12 June 2023

​Codford Solar Farm represents a big moment and shows Centrica’s commitment to the transition toward renewable energy and sustainable development. The innovative solar farm in Wiltshire is the first of its kind, owned and operated by Centrica.

The project consists of over 30,000 solar panels and a capacity of 18 MW. The site is expected to generate 19 GWh of clean electricity annually, providing power to nearly 5000 properties. The creation of Codford Solar Farm will support further expansion of renewables in the UK and meets the government’s focus on enhancing long-term energy independence and security via domestic green initiatives. Centrica’s commitment to a sustainable future was emphasised by its plan in 2021 to generate 900MW of low-carbon assets by 2026.

Following this goal, the business is actively involved in delivering battery storage projects at various locations.

Acknowledging the importance of partnerships in increasing renewable energy adoption, Vodafone has accelerated its plans by purchasing 50% of the electricity output from Codford solar farm. This collaboration supports the farm's development but also contributes towards Vodafone's ambition to meet 47% of its annual energy requirement from UK-based renewables by 2025. The long-term PPA between Vodafone and Centrica ensures that nearly 9GWh of green electricity will be committed to powering Vodafone UK, with the remaining energy supplied to the national grid. This agreement is the latest in a series of partnerships between Vodafone and Centria. Previous PPA partnerships represent the increasing trend of corporations embracing renewable energy and following their net zero plans. Chris O’Shea, the CEO of Centrica, highlights the company’s integrated approach toward the energy transition, incorporating the development of clean energy assets like Codford Solar and enabling power distribution across Europe.

O Shea explains that Centrica is uniquely positioned to drive and benefit from the energy transition. O’Shea emphasises that he is happy to build assets and focus on clean electricity generation and storage. O’Shea explains that the integration plans expand from developing new assets like Codford to distributing power across Europe, delivering a reputation as a leader in European energy markets and supporting organisations with achieving their net zero ambitions.

Andrea Dona, the Chief Network Officer of the Vodafone Net Zero group, highlighted their commitment to net zero operations by 2027. Achieving net zero for UK operation by 2027 is a critical part of their company strategy, and making the network energy efficient and sustainably powering it is vital.

Chirs Skidmore, MP and Chair of the Net Zero Review & Mission Zero report stated that as the energy minister, he recognises the need for additional power to create a net zero grid by 2035. The Net Zero Review, Mission Zero, published this year, urged the government to recognise that increasing solar energy would be one of the most effective ways of delivering net zero in the future.

Skidmore explains that he is proud to be part of the launch of Codford solar power facility, which is pioneering British clean energy solutions. The site can produce over 18 MW of clean energy, the equivalent of power for 5,000 properties. We have started our journey toward net zero, and by launching this solar site, we are taking a significant step forwards.

Centrica’s plans to achieve net zero by 2045 for its business and customers are reinforced by its accelerated support for clean energy expansion and adoption. By participating in projects like Codford, Centrica is playing a vital role in reducing the carbon content of energy supply and supporting the transition to a sustainable future.

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