George Hammond is investing £1.5m in a full knock down re-build (KDRB) of its Thanet Way Services in Kent that is scheduled to open in April.

The redevelopment, which is already under way, will include a 30kW solar array that will generate electricity for the site and feed electricity back into the national grid.

Director John Ryland said the company, which is ranked 47 in the Forecourt Trader Top 50 Indies, looked into the option of generating its own electricity because the local authority asked it to consider renewable energy as part of the planning process.

He said: “With energy prices escalating and expected to rise even higher in the future anything we can do to mitigate our energy costs is worth looking at. Last year electricity across our seven sites cost us £45,000.

“We will use most of the electricity ourselves and with the feed in tariff at its current level, the array should pay for itself in four years.”

Ryland said the company would evaluate how much the set-up generates in practise (media screens at the pumps will show customers how much electricity is being generated), and if it proves effective the company will consider rolling out solar power to its other sites.

The KDRB will also replace the 50sq m store with a 250sq m Spar convenience store including an in-store bakery and coffee offer, and the fuel pumps will be supplemented by six plug-in points for electric cars.