Surfing on Sunshine-Powered Waves at The Wave

Aug 23, 2023

Bristol is known for its historical architecture, being the hometown of world-famous graffiti artist Banksy, and being the United Kingdom’s only European Green Capital Award winner. But did you know it’s also home to The Wave, an inland surfing destination powered by 100% renewable energy? As part of a £3.2 million project funded by the European Regional Development Fund Growth Programme and South Gloucestershire Council, a Smartflower was installed in the summer of 2023 and provides power to the customer services office.



Project Director Nick Asheshov has always wanted to bring a Smartflower to The Wave. He discovered the heliotropic solar flower online many years ago and even stumbled across one during his travels in France. It was important to The Wave that the site showcased a range of renewable technologies—that way, its visitors could see the many possible ways they can build a sustainable future for all. Bringing a Smartflower to The Wave just made sense. “We wanted to install a visually striking product which would raise awareness of renewables amongst other businesses and members of the public, and just generally create interest from our customers,” said Asheshov.

Despite being a newcomer at The Wave, the local community has already embraced the Smartflower. It is a huge talking point for visitors and was used as a photo opportunity when The Wave hosted the Running Out of Time climate relay, a 32-day journey from Ben Nevis to Big Ben aimed at inspiring the United Kingdom to take collective action to reach net zero. Founder of The Wave, Nick Hounsfield, even skateboarded past the Smartflower while holding the baton as part of the relay!



The Wave truly believes that business can be a force for good. All decisions are made according to the triple bottom line (or ‘3Wave thinking’, as they call it), considering the effect its decisions will have on its profit, the people in its community, and the planet everyone shares. It’s no wonder that renewable energy is such a serious topic for the team behind The Wave. Smartflower aside, a ground-mounted solar farm, a solar carport, and numerous EV charging stations were installed at The Wave as part of its decarbonization project. Additionally, all energy used on site is sourced from 100% renewable energy, making The Wave one of the few carbon-neutral inland surf destinations in the world!

Educating the youth in the local community is another topic The Wave is passionate about. The company works with educational organizations to provide an education-led and active learning adventure for any young person over the age of 6. There are plans to introduce educational tours centering the renewable technologies on-site, where students will get the chance to learn about the different components that make The Wave a net-zero operation. “This solar installation is not just about decarbonizing our energy supply, but also raising awareness and educating our visitors and staff about what is possible with renewable technologies… it is also an amazing educational tool for the many school groups we have through our doors,” said Asheshov.

“The Smartflower is quickly becoming a symbol of our solar project, and we can see that images of it on social media are being shared widely. Decarbonization has always been a key part of our vision at The Wave, and we are excited to showcase what a business with on-site renewable energy generation can look like.”


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