Quinbrook has acquired a consented 350MW solar-plus-battery project, located in Kent, UK. The renewables infrastructure investor expects Project Fortress to commence construction in the first half of 2022. Once operational, Fortress is expected to be the largest single site solar PV installation in the UK and is more than three times the size of the UK’s next largest consented solar PV project. The addition of battery storage to large scale solar generation at Fortress is designed to provide critical support to improve security and reliability for the UK power grid. Fortress, which is classed as a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP), was granted development consent by the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy in May 2020. The power plant, when operational, is forecast to generate enough renewable power each year to meet the power needs of 100,000 UK homes. Fortress includes an extensive landscape and biodiversity management plan, designed in collaboration with Natural England, Kent Wildlife Trust, RSPB, and the Environment Agency, that will add more than 3.5 km of native hedgerow screen planting across the site and seek to deliver a net gain of 65% in biodiversity.
Project Fortress follows closely behind Quinbrook’s Gemini solar-plus-battery project in Nevada, in the US, which is under construction. Developed by Quinbrook portfolio company Primergy Solar, Gemini is a $1.1bn 690MW solar and 380MW battery storage system. It is believed to be the largest co-located solar PV and battery storage project in US history. Rory Quinlan, co-founder and managing partner of Quinbrook, said: “We believe Project Fortress is a landmark transaction on many fronts and represents a new frontier in UK solar teamed with large scale battery storage. “We have been immersed in large scale solar and storage in the US for many years and we can apply our significant experience in project design and equipment selection to ensure Fortress becomes the new benchmark for renewables that support the UK grid rather than challenge it.”