UK developer completes ‘pioneering’ solar-plus-storage site boasting trackers and bifacial modules

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UK renewables developer GRIDSERVE has completed a “game changing” hybrid solar-plus-storage farm in York, claiming it to be the first in the UK to boast single-axis trackers and bifacial panels. 

The site combined 37.4MWp of Suntech bifacial modules with 27MW of energy storage, using Nextracker single-axis trackers to shift the site’s generation portfolio into more beneficial hours.

The project is thought to be the most northerly combination of the two cutting edge technologies – bifacial panels and trackers – and the site ‘stacks’ a number of revenue streams in order to be financially feasible without subsidy support.

Sister publication PV Tech Power got the full details and behind-the-scenes insight of the solar project’s development. This resulted in an in-depth project overview included in PV Tech Power volume 21, published earlier this week. The feature-length profile of the project can be viewed within PV Tech Power 21, downloadable here.)

The project was first unveiled in February this year and is this the first of two to be developed by GRIDSERVE to be delivered to Warrington Council upon completion. The second, located in Hull, is scheduled to transfer early next year.

Toddington Harper, chief executive at GRIDSERVE, said that subsidy-free projects such as this demonstrate that the UK is capable of meeting its net zero obligations “well before 2050”.

“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,” he said.

More than 90,000 bifacial panels supplied by Suntech make up the energy generation element of the site, with single-axis trackers supplied by Nextracker used to shift the generation portfolio of the solar farm. Sungrow inverters and Samsung batteries complete the array’s technology suite.

Warrington expects the two projects to deliver millions of pounds in profits each year, demonstrating the possibility for councils and local authorities to invest in and profit from clean energy projects.

“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,” Russ Bowden, Warrington Borough Council leader, said.

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