Sustainable energy company buys solar farm for UK’s first electric forecourt

Gridserve Electric Forecourt Braintrain

Gridserve, the Buckinghamshire-based sustainable energy company has bought a solar farm which it says will provide the UK’s first “Electric Forecourt” which will open in Braintree, Essex.

Clayhill, located in Flitwick, was the UK’s first solar farm built free from government subsidy. Comprising c.10MWp of solar PV co-located with a 6MW(ac) 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.

The electricity will be delivered 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 Electric Forecourt, said the company.

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.”

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 Electric Forecourts and electric vehicle charging locations across the UK in the coming years.

Both this acquisition and the roll-out of Gridserve’s Electric Forecourt’s are being supported by the company’s partnership with Hitachi Capital UK.