- Gridserve in the UK will build 2 subsidy free solar power plants with energy storage capacity for Warrington Borough Council
- It says these projects will be the first solar farms in the country to use bifacial solar modules and tracker systems
- First one to enter construction is 34.7 MW York Solar Farm with 27 MW battery storage capacity; it will be followed by 25.7 MW Hull Solar Farm for which a storage component will be added later
- Investec Bank and Leapfrog Finance are funding the projects; the Warrington Borough Council is the investor and will acquire the projects on completion
Solar and storage energy project developer Gridserve has secured financing from Investec Bank and Leapfrog Finance to build 2 subsidy free solar power projects with 60.4 MW cumulative capacity along with 27 MW battery storage system in UK’s Warrington region. These, it says, will be the first solar farms in the country to use bifacial solar panels and trackers to maximize generation through the day.
It would make the battery storage component too the largest at any UK solar farm and share the grid connection, say the makers of the project.
Gridserve says these are the 2 largest solar farms to be built in Great Britain since 2016, offering a new commercial model for delivering subsidy-free utility scale solar energy in the UK. It will build the plants and storage system to be owned by Warrington Borough Council when these are fully operational. The council has agreed to pay £62.34 million ($82.6 million) for the assets. On completion, Gridserve will continue to operate and maintain the farms throughout their life.
Another aspect of the projects will be the installation of Electric Forecourts linked to both the sites on completion, offering ‘supercharging’ for up to 24 electric vehicles simultaneously at competitive prices.
The 34.7 MW York Solar Farm paired with the 27 MW battery storage system will be located on 198 acres of low-grade agricultural land near Easingwold. Construction will start imminently; the project is expected to enter operations by October 2019.
Later, it will be followed by the 25.7 MW Hull Solar Farm on 131 acres of low-grade agricultural land near Bilton. For the council, these projects are expected to generate ‘millions of pounds in profits every year for 30 years’. The makers also plan to pair up the Hull Solar Farm with a battery storage system later on.
The council will use power generated by the York Solar Farm for its own electricity needs through which it aims to bring down its energy bills by up to £2 million ($2.65 million) annually. The Hull Solar Farm will generate clean power that will be sold initially on the open market. Gridserve says a number of additional local authorities have expressed an interest in buying power from this project.
“This deal is good news for Warrington residents and good news for the environment. The solar farms will secure our energy supply, give us control over our energy prices, contribute to reducing fuel poverty and generate an estimated operating surplus of £150 million ($198.7 million) over 30 years that can be invested back into the most important frontline services,” said Cllr Russ Bowden, leader of the Warrington Borough Council.