GRIDSERVE’s new EV charging Super Hub cracks the grid capacity dilemma

  • Charge point operator GRIDSERVE has shown off its new flagship EV charging station in Cornwall.
  • Solar canopy doubles as shade and extra power to meet grid connection constraints.
  • The company plans to build a larger solar farm at the site to further increase the zero-emission energy used.

GRIDSERVE opens new Electric Super Hub, meeting grid capacity with solar panels

GRIDSERVE has announced an upgrade to the charging facilities at Cornwall Services, turning it into one of its flagship Electric Super Hubs. The site sits on one of the main routes that thousands of holiday makers travel on each summer – with an increasing number of them doing the journey in EVs. It now consists of six ultra-rapid chargers, and six slower AC chargers for those staying overnight at the nearby hotel.

The solution adopted by the company here is an interesting development, as the local area has a particularly constrained capacity from the National Grid. This means that surges in demand, such as when multiple EVs arrive at the station at once, are harder to deal with, making planning permission for projects such as these harder to be granted. In addition, the company says that the UK’s electricity generation capacity will need to double within the next 12 years, “if the UK is serious about electrifying transport and homes with clean energy”.

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To counteract this issue, the canopy covering the twelve EV bays is constructed out of solar panels, which help provide zero-emission energy to the chargers in addition to the energy provided from the grid. Plus, providing shelter for those charging up just makes sense, considering how unpredictable British weather can be. Coincidentally, GRIDSERVE also notes that there is a correlation between the hours of peak solar energy generation and charger energy consumption.

Also contained at the new site is a 1MW battery storage centre, further helping manage energy capacity. This sips power from the grid during low demand times, storing electricity that can then be discharged when there are surges in demand at the charging site without relying on the grid.

GRIDSERVE have also applied for planning permission to build a large solar farm just beside the site. This will be hooked up to its battery and charging network, which it says will deliver “enough zero carbon energy to deliver four million miles of EV driving”.

InstaVolt have also announced similar plans to build a charging Super Hub with solar panels and energy storage solutions, which is set to be the largest in the UK.

What does this development mean for the UK’s EV charging infrastructure?

GRIDSERVE’s addition of solar panels and a local energy storage solution remove the timescales needed in waiting for the existing grid connection to be strengthened. This can be a barrier to opening up new charging stations, particularly those with multiple bays and ultra-rapid options.

This solution could also be adopted in other areas with low reserves of extra capacity, opening up more charging hubs in locations previously left empty-handed. Since by 2030 you’ll only be able to buy fully-electric cars from new, building up the UK’s electric car charging network is crucial for this date to stay on track.

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