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New Herefordshire solar farm starts producing energy

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Conrad Energy has this week announced that its Larport Solar Farm has started producing energy. The Herefordshire facility is expected to produce 40,000 MWh of renewable electricity annually, equivalent to powering 11,000 homes.

The solar farm was switched on at a ceremony attended by senior figures from Conrad Energy, including CEO Steven Hardman, as well as BNP Paribas’ UK Country Head Emmanuelle Bury, and Tom Kneen, CEO of the principal contractor Ethical Power (pictured left to right below).

Larport Solar Farm Launch Event

The bank, which is a founding member of the Net-Zero Banking Alliance, will use the energy generated to decarbonise its UK operations.

Emmanuelle Bury, UK Country Head, BNP Paribas, said:

“BNP Paribas is already known as the bank helping finance the energy transition, and our agreement with Conrad Energy demonstrates our commitment to living our values. It is a vital step on the path to net zero banking.”

The design of the solar farm was developed in consultation with the local community, with the final proposal described as an ‘exemplar’ by the Chair of Herefordshire Planning and Regulatory Committee. During the construction of the project, 40 hectares of native wildflower grassland were created and pairs of rare native black poplars having also been planted, the project provides the local community with significant biodiversity net gain.

During Larport’s construction, Conrad Energy reciprocated the community support by fitting solar panels to the roof of the nearby Mordiford Church of England Primary School, which will help reduce energy costs through the generation of their own renewable energy, and by making upgrades to the sensory garden at The Royal National College for the Blind.

Principal contractor Ethical Power delivered design optimisation and full-wrap engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) services for the project and will continue to provide operation and maintenance services for the site.

Steven Hardman, CEO of Conrad Energy, said:

“The switching on of the Larport Solar Farm is an important moment for both Conrad Energy and BNP Paribas. We have found in the bank a company that shares our commitment to help the UK realise its net-zero ambitions. Solar has a significant role to play in the energy transition and so I look forward to seeing further projects switch on in the future.”

Tom Kneen, CEO of Ethical Power, said:

“The delivery of Larport Solar Farm was full of challenges, but thanks to our unique vertical integration, we could complete the construction on time and to the highest standards, despite one of the wettest winters on record. It was the power of people that made Larport happen, both within Ethical Power and our exceptional partnership with Conrad Energy.”

Larport Solar Farm is projected to save around 375,000 tonnes of carbon over the course of its 40-year lifecycle, with the power sleeved to BNP Paribas via an initial 15-year Power Purchase Agreement. It is the latest in Conrad Energy’s growing pipeline of projects, with the company already hosting a potential 950MW of energy generation and battery storage across its 85 sites across the UK. 

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