Clayhill, located in Flitwick near Bedfordshire, was the UK’s first solar farm built free from government subsidy. Comprising 10MWp of solar PV co-located with a 6MW energy storage facility, the site provides grid services and generates enough electricity to drive electric vehicles 40 million miles per year or generate enough energy for 2,500 homes while saving around 4,500 tonnes of carbon annually.
GRIDSERVE acquired the project to deliver power to their electric forecourt in Braintree, the first in the country, through a sophisticated type of ‘sleeving’ power purchase agreement that nets off power fed into the grid from the solar farm, with an equivalent amount of power consumed from the grid at the forecourt.
The combination of both the solar farm and electric forecourt also demonstrates the company’s ‘Sun-to-Wheel’ model – a net zero carbon, completely sustainable electric vehicle charging ecosystem, powered by dependable, low cost, clean energy generated from solar power – and one that doesn’t require any subsidies to deliver, or replicate.
Jeremy Cross, Chief Commercial Officer at GRIDSERVE, said:
“The addition of Clayhill to our portfolio – which marks GRIDSERVE’s first acquisition of an operational solar farm – will enable us to guarantee that the amount of energy used at our electric forecourt in Braintree has been generated from zero-carbon solar power. Our mission is to deliver sustainable energy and move the needle on climate change, and this project will help us to support the UK’s transition to net-zero transport from this year onwards.”
He added: “GRIDSERVE is in a unique position in the industry, having developed sites at York and Hull at the end of last year, with a further pipeline being built out this year, and now acquiring the only other operational solar-plus-storage project in the UK.”
Anesco will continue to provide operations and maintenance services for the site, as part of a 20-year agreement with GRIDSERVE. Mark Futyan, Anesco CEO, commented:
“Engineering a subsidy-free development at Clayhill was a landmark achievement for the industry and is something we’re very proud of. It has proven to be a solid investment and we look forward to working with GRIDSERVE to ensure Clayhill continues to generate the optimal financial and environmental returns.”
GRIDSERVE’s inaugural electric forecourt in Braintree is scheduled to open to the public later this year and marks the first in a planned roll-out of more than 100 forecourts and electric vehicle charging solutions across the UK in the coming years.