Leading UK renewable energy developer British Solar Renewables announced Monday it completed construction of the 49.99 megawatt (MW) Stocking Pelham battery storage project in England, the largest such facility in the UK.
The 4,500 m2 battery storage facility, located near Bishop’s Stortford in Hertfordshire, England, was actually completed back in December of 2017, less than six months after British Solar Renewables (BSR EPC) was awarded the contract by SMA Sunbelt Energy GmbH. Originally conceived by developer, owner, and operator Statera Energy, the Stocking Pelham project is built using SMA’s proprietary E-house design, which houses batteries and other equipment in custom-built prefabricated buildings.
The project’s completion was announced this week following news that Statera Energy had successfully completed debt refinancing at the end of June. The project was commissioned in December under a two-year contract with the UK National Grid to provide grid balancing services.
Thus, not only is Stocking Pelham the largest constructed battery storage facility in the UK, but it is also the beneficiary of a first for UK large-scale battery storage re-financing.
“We have decided to work with BSR EPC as principal contractor because of its experience of building large scale projects in tight timescales in the UK,” said Dr. Enrique Garralaga, Head of Project Development at SMA.
“We are delighted to have worked closely with SMA to deliver this landmark project,” added Tim Humpage, BSR’s Head of EPC (Engineering, Procurement and Construction). “Renewables are meeting more and more of our energy needs, and projects like this have the power to turbo-charge this trend as batteries have the ability to balance supply and demand. Energy Storage facilities such as this will an essential part of the transition to a low carbon environment in the coming years.”
Stocking Pelham is made up of seven of SMA’s E-houses, 27 inverters, 12 kilometers of cable, and 150,000 lithium-ion battery cells, and is connected to the nearby 400kV substation via a 132kV grid connection. The use of E-houses helped reduce the site’s footprint by up to 50% as compared to other battery storage designs relying on shipping containers.
The project’s refinancing was completed through a debt facility with NatWest, part of The Royal Bank of Scotland Group, and is a step forward for the maturity of the technology in the UK.
“We are delighted to have successfully completed six months of operation and the facility re-financing with NatWest,” said Tom Vernon, managing director, Statera Energy. “The deal is a first in the UK as it demonstrates the bankability of battery storage, and NatWest’s pragmatic and professional approach was essential in structuring a financing of this nature.”
“We are delighted to have financed the project at Pelham and for our asset-based approach to play a key role in facilitating this milestone transaction,” added Steve Guy, director at NatWest. “NatWest is committed to becoming a more sustainable bank and supporting the UK’s ambition to become a low carbon economy is an important part of this.”