Santander Starts Building 32-Megawatt U.K. Solar Farm

Banco Santander SA, Spain’s biggest bank, began building one of the U.K.’s biggest solar farms as it seeks to expand its renewable-energy portfolio in Britain.

Santander’s U.K. unit is building the 31.6-megawatt Broxted Solar Farm on a disused Royal Air Force base in Suffolk, eastern England, it said today in an e-mailed statement. It will produce enough power for 8,000 homes when finished by year-end, the company said.

The project “represents our second major investment in U.K. solar and is forming part of a wider portfolio of U.K. solar projects we are constructing over the next six months,” Oliver Alexander, executive director of Santander Asset & Capital Structuring, said in the statement.

The U.K. is chasing 20 gigawatts of solar power capacity by 2020, and the technology has surged since subsidies were introduced in 2010. Cumulative photovoltaic installations in Britain reached about 2.1 gigawatts last year and the country is likely to add 950 megawatts to 1,270 megawatts this year, Bloomberg New Energy Finance forecasts.

Santander’s farm will be just 1.4 megawatts smaller than a 33-megawatt park completed earlier this year by Freiburg, Germany-based SAG Solarstrom AG in Wymeswold, central England. Santander bought the project from Lark Energy, it said. It didn’t disclose how much it paid, or how much it’s investing in the construction phase.

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