GRIDSERVE has confirmed the completion of the UK’s most technically advanced hybrid solar and battery facility in Cirencester. The 23MWp DC solar and battery site includes over 40,00 bifacial solar panels and 51MWh of energy storage. It is the third recent farm to be passed onto Warrington Borough Council, making it the first local authority in the country to produce all of its electricity.
Using bifacial panels and sun trackers for renewable energy, the site will increase its efficiency by nearly 20% compared to conventional systems.
Toddington Harper, the CEO of GRIDSERVE, believes it is our collective responsibility to tackle the climate change emergency. Harper explains that projects like the Cirencester Hybrid Solar Farm require no government subsidies and can deliver affordable, secure, abundant energy. The project demonstrates that the UK can meet its net zero targets, and collaborating with Warrington Borough Council enables GRIDSERVE to create significant carbon reductions that have an efficient and affordable impact on climate change.
The first of these innovative hybrid solar and storage projects developed was in York in 2019, which became the first utility-scale solar site in the UK to use trackers and bifacial solar panels. The 34.7MWp solar site was co-located with a 27MW battery, enabling what the renewable developer described as a pioneering new commercial model for solar in the UK. At the time, Harper stated that GRIDSERVE has adapted the solar model to enhance value and believes they have not demonstrated that the business has the capabilities to make projects like this a reality. To replicate this success, GRIDSERVE is exploring new partnerships with landowner and developers and acquiring project rights.
Over 90,000 bifacial solar panels supplied by Suntech make up the energy generation portion of the facility, with single-axis trackers supplied by Nextracker used to shift the generation portfolio of the solar site. Sungrow inverters and Samsung batteries complete the technology at the site. Councillor Janet Henshaw, the cabinet member for sustainability and climate change at Warrington Council, explains that completing Cirencester Hybrid Solar Farm is very positive news for Warrington. Henshaw believes the site provides a significant boost to their efforts to tackle the climate emergency, reduce emissions and tackle fuel poverty. It will also provide sufficient net zero carbon energy to charge their fleet of electric buses, due to be introduced next year.
According to Henshaw, investing in subsidy-free developments has been a massive achievement for the council. Each project has resulted in a strategic move to ensure the future energy security of the region. Henshaw is looking forward to working with GRIDSERVE to ensure Cirencester Hybrid Solar Farm continues to produce the best financial and environmental returns.