GRIDSERVE completes game changing hybrid solar farm for Warrington Borough Council
The UK’s largest and most technically advanced solar + battery storage project is delivering power day and night and providing multiple services to help keep the grid reliable
CHANGCHUN, China, December. 20, 2019 /PVTIME/ -- GRIDSERVE announces the completion and hand over of the UK’s most advanced solar farm to Warrington Borough Council in a project which paves the way for a nationwide expansion of subsidy-free renewable power, to meet the UK’s net zero power commitments.
The 34.7MWp solar farm at York is the largest
to be completed since 2016, and it is pioneering a new commercial model using
30 MWh of battery storage and sophisticated technologies to maximise revenues
and help balance the grid – both during the day with direct solar generation
and at night with energy stored in the 30MW battery.
The project, which generates enough energy to
supply a town, also demonstrates how local authorities can partner with
developers to deliver projects which cut carbon, supply clean electricity, and
generate millions of pounds for councils to fund essential services.
Toddington Harper, CEO and founder of
GRIDSERVE, said: “It’s
our collective responsibility to prevent runaway climate change and protect
species, so let’s be the change and make it happen. Projects like this, which
also require no government subsidy whatsoever, demonstrate that the UK can meet
its net zero obligations well before 2050 and enable us to move the needle in
delivering radical carbon reductions within the next 10-years”.
“We’ve completely rethought the solar model to maximise value, and we’ve
now demonstrated that we have what it takes to make projects like this a
reality. To replicate this success, we are now looking to partner with
additional landowners, developers, and to acquire project rights.”
In addition to the York hybrid solar project,
Warrington Borough Council is also purchasing a second 25.7MWp solar farm at
Hull, which is due to be handed over early next year. GRIDSERVE will operate
and maintain both projects over their lifetimes to maximise system performance
and value for the council.
Warrington expects the two projects to generate
millions of pounds in profits every year and generate an operating surplus of
over a hundred million pounds over 30 years to invest in essential services.
Electricity from York hybrid solar farm will be sold on the open market while
Hull will supply all the council’s energy needs. The deal will make it the
first local authority to produce all its own electricity.
Warrington Borough Council Leader, Cllr Russ
Bowden, said: “The
completion of this groundbreaking project is a huge milestone for the council.
This investment strengthens our commitment to tackle the climate emergency, and
will also help us secure our energy supply, give us control over our energy
prices, and contribute to reducing fuel poverty.
“At the same time, the solar farm is an important part of our ‘invest to
save’ programme, and we expect it to generate an operating surplus of millions
of pounds that can be ploughed back into delivering vital council services.
“We’re delighted to be working in partnership with GRIDSERVE on this cutting-edge
scheme and we are proud to have delivered the UKs most advanced solar farm.
It’s great news for Warrington and also sets the bar for other local
authorities in what can be achieved by working with the right partners, with a
The York hybrid solar project, which produces
enough energy to power more than 20,000 electric vehicles every year, was
completed in just five months, a process documented in a breathtaking timelapse video.
GRIDSERVE installed more than 90,000 solar panels, 30MWh of batteries and 500
kilometres of cable on the 198 acre site – an area the size of more than 100
The project demonstrates a number of “firsts”
for the UK solar industry:
· It uses cutting edge technologies to increase solar
generation by 20%. York hybrid solar farm is the first UK solar
farm to use bifacial solar panels, which generate electricity on both sides. It
is also the first large-scale UK project to use trackers which follow the sun,
maximising generation over the whole day, and minimising pricing risk from
solar farms with fixed solar panels, which typically produce peak output at the
same time each day.
· It is able to control energy flows to maximise income
and support the grid. Its 27MW(ac) lithium-ion battery storage
system and two-way grid connection allows the project to store electricity to
achieve better power prices and provide services that help National Grid
balance supply and demand.
· 27MW(ac) Hybrid Solar-Battery energy project pioneers
new grid connection Engineering Recommendation G99. This is the
first “Type C” (greater than 10MW) project within Northern Powergrid’s network
area, meaning GRIDSERVE was required to undertake challenging live witness
tests to demonstrate dynamic voltage control, frequency response, and reactive
power capability. York is one of the first and most complex generators in the
UK to undertake these G99 tests, meaning new and unique implementation test
plans were required to be drawn up. GRIDSERVE worked closely with the DNO and
Power System Consultants to validate the system behaviour and will be applying
these learnings to its pipeline of future project.
· It will support the electric vehicle revolution.
Adjacent to the site GRIDSERVE plans to build one of the first of a network of
over 100 Electric
Forecourts® designed specifically for the needs of electric vehicle
drivers. The Electric Forecourt® will offer convenient, ultra-fast, low-cost
charging for private and fleet vehicles, supplied by the solar farm.
In order to connect York hybrid solar farm to
the grid, GRIDSERVE has had to demonstrate full control over mitigating the
project’s impact on grid voltage. Renewable generation fluctuates with the
weather and changes in output can affect voltage, and GRIDSERVE was successful
in demonstrating sub-second response times to stabilise the system.
Toddington Harper said: “to reach net zero power, the new
generation of renewable energy projects must solve grid problems, not create
them. With York hybrid solar farm, we have demonstrated a sustainable energy
blueprint that truly puts renewable energy at the heart of delivering
dependable, clean, low cost energy that we can all rely on.”
York solar farm has been built on low grade
agricultural land at Boscar Grange, near Easingwold, north of the city.
GRIDSERVE is now also working on plans to turn the 198-acre site into a nature
sanctuary, incorporating planting wildflowers and numerous other biodiversity
enhancements to help protect species.