Centrica’s solar farm sets the stage for renewable energy

The Codford Solar Farm reaches a significant milestone and marks Centrica’s commitment to renewable energy transition and sustainable development

Centrica, a leading energy company, has marked a significant milestone in its commitment to sustainable energy with the completion of Codford Solar Farm. This state-of-the-art solar farm, located in Wiltshire, UK, is the first of its kind owned and operated by Centrica. The project, comprising 33,000 panels, has a total capacity of 18MW and is poised to generate an impressive 19GWh of clean electricity annually, providing power to approximately 4,850 homes.

The establishment of Codford Solar Farm not only contributes to the expansion of renewable energy in the UK but also aligns with the government's focus on bolstering long-term energy independence and security through home-grown green initiatives.

Centrica's dedication to a sustainable future was underscored by its announcement in late 2021 to deliver 900MW of low carbon assets by 2026. In pursuit of this goal, the company is actively involved in the construction of battery storage projects at various locations, including Brigg, Lincolnshire, Knapton, North Yorkshire, and Ostend in Belgium. Additionally, Centrica has a robust pipeline of multi GW projects in development.

Recognising the significance of partnerships in driving renewable energy adoption, Vodafone has stepped forward to purchase 50% of the electricity output from Codford Solar Farm. This collaboration not only supports the farm's development but also contributes to Vodafone's ambition to meet 47% of its annual energy requirement from UK-based renewable sources by 2025. The long-term power purchase agreement (PPA) between Vodafone and Centrica Energy Marketing & Trading ensures that approximately 9GWh of green electricity will be dedicated to powering Vodafone UK, with the remaining energy being supplied to the national grid.

This agreement is the latest in a series of successful collaborations between Vodafone and Centrica Energy Marketing & Trading. Their previous PPAs include a partnership with MYTILINEOS S.A for the output from three solar farms in the UK and a commitment from Vodafone to procure a significant proportion of the output from five additional solar farms. These partnerships illustrate the growing trend of corporations embracing renewable power sources and working towards their net zero ambitions.

CEO of Centrica, Chris O'Shea, emphasised the company's integrated approach to the energy transition, encompassing the construction of clean energy assets like Codford Solar Farm, as well as facilitating power distribution across Europe. 

“Centrica is a uniquely integrated energy company well positioned to both drive, and benefit from, the energy transition. I’m delighted that we’re now back building assets, focussing on clean electricity generation and storage,” says  O’Shea.

“That integration stretches from the construction of new generating assets such as Codford to the movement of power across Europe and we’ve rapidly built a reputation as a leading player in European energy markets, supporting grid operators with sourcing the power they need to maintain a secure supply and supporting organisations such as Vodafone to help reach its net zero ambitions.”

Andrea Dona, Chief Network Officer and chair of Vodafone's Net Zero Steerco, highlighted Vodafone's commitment to achieving net zero for its UK operations by 2027. 

“Achieving net zero for our UK operations by 2027 is a critical part of our company strategy, and making our network as energy efficient as possible, and powering it sustainably, play a key role,” says Dona.

“We already use 100% renewable electricity, and we’re committed to supporting the development of UK renewables. Thanks to power purchase agreements like this one, a significant proportion of our energy requirement will be generated in the UK by 2025. Such agreements also bring additional renewable power to the UK grid, and so are good for the country too.”

Also commenting on the commitment to renewable energy is Rt Hon Chris Skidmore MP OBE, Chair of the Net Zero Review & Mission Zero Report, who said: 

“As the former Energy Minister who signed the UK's net zero commitment into law, I have always recognised the need for more renewable power as we seek to create a net zero power grid by 2035. The Net Zero Review, 'Mission Zero', that I published earlier this year called on the government to recognise that expanding solar power generation would be one of the most effective means of delivering net zero in the future. 

“I am proud to be a part of the opening of Codford solar power plant, which is pioneering British clean energy solutions. This site has the capacity to generate over 18 megawatts of clean energy, which is enough to power 5,000 homes and is a prime example of what we need to achieve our net zero goals. Our journey to net zero has already started and by opening this plant we are taking an important step forward towards unlocking the opportunities it will bring.” 

Centrica's commitment to reaching net zero by 2045, both for itself and its customers by 2050, is underscored by its unwavering support for clean energy expansion and adoption. By actively participating in projects like Codford Solar Farm, Centrica plays a crucial role in reducing the carbon content of energy supply and accelerating the transition to a sustainable future.

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