Sunshine Powered Surfing Set For 2023

Work to Start on Innovative Solar and Battery Array at The Wave 

Work is set to start on a solar and energy storage array at The Wave in South Gloucestershire, with the aim that sunshine powered waves will be rolling from June 2023. Planning, funding and contracts are now all in place for the solar installation, which will produce more energy than the surfing lake and its surrounding facilities use every year – making the business Net Zero carbon in terms of its operational energy consumption.

The unique inland surfing destination has secured just over £1.45million European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) Growth Programme funding, alongside match funding from South Gloucestershire Council in the form of a commercial loan*, to make this exciting development possible.

The £3.2million project, will see a range of solar PV modules installed across the site, including a solar canopy over part of the car park and a solar ‘Smartflower’, which will act as an engaging renewable energy educational tool for visitors and school visits to The Wave. An electric vehicle charging ‘hub’ will also be installed on site for visitors with Ultra Low Emission vehicles to support the growing Electric Vehicle market. A co-located 380kWh Flow Machine battery, which is fully recyclable at the end of its life, will help to increase onsite usage generated from the solar panels.  

In total the installation is forecast to generate 3,000,000 (kilowatt hours) in year one – and The Wave’s current annual power consumption is c. 2,250,000 kWh (approx 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 made a commitment from the outset to only use renewable energy, which is currently sourced from the grid via Good Energy. The long-term vision has always been to incorporate its own renewable energy generation on site – and this is now more important than ever, for environmental and financial sustainability.

The installation of the Solar PV is being project managed by specialist renewable energy consultancy, Syzygy, and is due to be complete and start generating energy from June 2023.

Nick Hounsfield, The Wave Founder, explains:

“From the word go, we said we would use 100% renewable energy – it would have been so wrong for us to be using fossil fuels to power our waves, thereby contributing to climate change and the acidification of the oceans. 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.”

One of The Wave’s investors and project lead on the solar development, Nick Asheshov, adds:

“We are delighted that The Wave is taking a major step towards decarbonisation of its operations, which has always been a key part of the vision that convinced us to back the company several years ago. We are very grateful for the support of South Gloucestershire Council, DLUHC and ERDF, and excited to showcase what is possible for businesses wanting to develop their own on-site renewable energy generation.”

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

“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.” 

 As part of the installation The Wave plans to seed wildflowers alongside the solar panels, to help create valuable habitats for pollinators. Recent research from Lancaster University has found that managing solar developments in this way would boost bumblebee numbers beyond the borders of the parks, to about 1km (0.6 miles) away. This is in line with the business’ focus on improving the biodiversity of its sites.

The Wave is located in a beautiful rural site on the edge of Bristol, close to the M5.  At its heart is a 180m long surfing lake, powered by innovative Wavegarden Cove technology. This provides waves suitable for everyone, from a child stepping on the board for the first time, to professional surfers training for the Olympics. The Wave is all about getting people outside in nature, being active and sharing the blue health benefits of surfing with people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities.

Surfing is a rapidly growing sport and made its Olympic debut in Tokyo in 2021. The accessibility of surfing has been held back by geographical limitations, weather, swell conditions and tides. The Wave overcomes all these issues to bring perfect surfing conditions for beginners, intermediates and advanced surfers.