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Tesla mega-battery reports are wide of mark, say developers of 350MW+ UK solar farm

Tesla Powerpacks recently installed for a commercial and industrial (C&I) site in Manchester, England. Image: Photon Energy.

Cleve Hill Solar Park, the joint venture (JV) of Hive Energy and Wirsol intending to develop a 350MW+ solar farm on the Kent coast of England, has yet to make any decisions regarding the battery storage element of its plans, contrary to media reports.

Stories emerged in the UK's mainstream press last weekend linking battery giant Tesla to the project, suggesting that Elon Musk’s company was intending to develop the energy storage element of the facility.

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But the companies behind the project have strongly refuted those reports, stressing that no decisions – including on capacity and technology type – have been made.

“Cleve Hill Solar Park Ltd. is proposing to include battery storage technology in addition to the PV array in their Development Consent Order (DCO) application. Whilst the type and final number of batteries for the project is unknown, a range of scenarios will be presented in the application for the project.

“Battery storage technology is a key part of the government’s Industrial Strategy. The technology can be used in a number of ways in support of renewable energy generation including time shifting output and balancing frequency response. Battery storage technology will be part of the solution to help the grid shift from fossils fuels to renewable energy. By acting to smooth the supply of renewable energy to the grid, battery storage will play a key role in enabling an integrated low carbon energy supply. 

“Battery storage technology forms an intrinsic part of the proposal for the Cleve Hill Solar Park and is an exciting part of the future of renewable energy generation,” a statement issued to our sister site covering the UK PV industry, Solar Power Portal, read.

Planning documents reveal that the developers have requested permission for a battery facility up to 350MW in capacity, however SPP understands that the final development capacity will be resolved following discussions with National Grid.

Discussions around the final capacity and indeed the supplier of the battery storage facility may also centre on the desired duration, or mix of different battery durations. The government’s decision to de-rate battery storage facilities competing in the Capacity Market owing to their duration stands to drive interest in longer duration storage and new technologies, with some developers investigating the potential for flow batteries to be deployed at scale.

Reporting over the weekend by outlets including British daily newspapers The Times and The Daily Mail claiming Tesla CEO Musk was already lining up the project were slammed by some experts via social media for other innacuracies. Meanwhile in California, investor-owned utility (IOU) PG&E put forward for approval four projects which included a 182.5MW, four hour duration (730MWh) Tesla project

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