Home » News » Sunshine powered surfing at The Wave

Sunshine powered surfing at The Wave

Work is set to start on a solar installation to power The Wave surfing lake in South Gloucestershire with 100% renewable energy. 

The South West Energy Hub is proud to have played a part in this innovative project by carrying out a feasibility study which supported South Gloucestershire Council to understand the finance of the solar proposal, giving them confidence to provide match funding for the project.   

The council approached the Hub to do a concise high-level review of the technical and commercial viability of the Wave project based on the technical and commercial information already produced by the Wave, as well as the council’s own analysis of this information. 

The installation is forecast to generate 3,000,000 (kilowatt hours) in year one – and The Wave’s current annual power consumption is around 2,250,000 kWh. Approximately 50% of energy use is for wave generation and filtration, whilst the remaining 50% is for wider site operations. Excess power generated will be exported, contributing towards decarbonising the National Grid. 

The Wave’s commercial viability is based on the avoided costs of energy purchase through the new system meeting the needs of the site. The study carried out by the Hub supported the council to assess not only the potential of the solar installation to supply the site, but also the commercial case should the Wave cease to operate, with the expectation being that the council would take ownership of the renewable technology and recoup the cost of the loan by selling electricity to the grid. 

The installation is due to start generating energy from June 2023. An on-site electric vehicle charging hub will also be installed for visitors to use. The solar farm and EV facilities will help increase the amount of renewable generation in South Gloucestershire as well as encouraging visitors to sustainably travel to The Wave in electric vehicles.  

Nick Hounsfield, The Wave Founder, said: 

“The plan was always to progress to be able to generate our own energy and to know that this will be a reality by next year is a dream come true.  This installation wouldn’t be possible without the match funding loan from South Gloucestershire Council. It is brilliant to be working alongside a local authority that is so proactive in its response to the climate change emergency and so supportive of businesses looking to make a positive difference.” 

Cllr Toby Savage, South Gloucestershire Council Leader with Cabinet responsibility for Climate Change, said: 

“We are delighted to be able to support The Wave in bringing forward their solar and energy storage proposals at their surfing destination in Easter Compton. We all need to play our part in reducing carbon emissions and finding sustainable alternatives for energy and travel, and initiatives such as this are an excellent way to achieve net zero carbon and help meet our climate emergency aims for the area.” 

Jon Rattenbury, Programme Manager, South West Net Zero Hub, said: 

“This is an excellent example of how the Hub can support local authorities. Our report gave South Gloucestershire Council valuable information on the likely return on investment of the solar scheme at The Wave, which enabled them to provide a loan and the project to go ahead, ultimately leading to an increase in renewables generation in the region.”