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Creating large-scale solar installations: 3 case studies

Experts in energy efficiency solutions, we are perfectly placed to deliver large-scale solar panel installations that match our clients’ precise requirements. Here are three examples of the bigger projects we have worked on over recent years.

49.5 kWp ground mount – Wiltshire country estate

One of our larger projects was completed for the owners of a country estate near to Marlborough in Wiltshire. After purchasing the estate, the owners were keen to modernise and improve it, and as part of this, they wanted to take advantage of renewable energy solutions. They saw this as both an investment and a way to protect themselves from future energy price rises.

The challenges

Because a reduction to Feed-in Tariff levels was scheduled to take place within weeks, the client needed to ensure the installation was run efficiently and to a tight schedule. Another challenge was posed by the fact that the farmland and buildings in the estate were situated with an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, meaning any installation must be carefully sited and have a suitable appearance in order to get planning consent.

The Solution

 

Working with Waldon Energy, our commercial scale partners, we designed a solar PV solution that met all of the necessary criteria. Before providing a free, no-obligation site survey, we used climate databases and satellite images to gather information on the location. In addition, we made an application to the Distribution Network Operator to confirm power export capacity.

During the on-site survey, we discovered that an initial plan to place the solar panels on the roof of the barn would not be suitable. As an alternative, we suggested a ground-mounted system based partly on flat ground and partly on a steep bank. After providing detailed plans, our quote was approved and planning permission was granted with no objections. The work was then completed under the close supervision of a senior construction manager from InstaGroup, a member of the Snug Network.

The system comprises 198 250w ground-mounted InstaGen Mono Panels, along with three Diehl inverters that take the DC current generated by the panels and convert it into AC.

‘Commendable’

Commenting on our approach to the project, the site owner said: “Their commitment to ensuring we could meet the Feed-In Tariff cut-off date was commendable… The team worked with us, and around us, keeping disruption to a minimum and making sure the site was always left neat and tidy.”

The benefits

  • A predicted return on investment of over 17% will pay back the capital investment in under seven years and generate proceeds of nearly £300,000 over 20 years
  • Continued savings beyond this point, and potentially higher returns if energy prices continue to rise 

147 kWp roof mount – Church Farm, Darrington

We also provided our expertise to a project at Church Farm in Darrington, West Yorkshire. The owners of the farm, which was using 500 kwh of electricity per annum to maintain 24-hour pig feeding and accommodation, were concerned about rising energy costs. They wanted to reduce their expenses and show their commitment to lowering carbon emissions.

The challenges

As well as providing an efficient system that saved the owners money, we needed to demonstrate that we could work in strict compliance with all the relevant animal health and welfare regulations.

The solution

Initially, a wind turbine was considered, but for various reasons this was deemed unsuitable. Solar PV was chosen instead as it was calculated that this could provide around a quarter of the farm’s electricity and generate extra revenue through the Feed-in Tariff. Working with Waldon Energy, we drew up plans for a solar PV array situated on a fibre cement flat-roofed pig shed with an east/west aspect. While installing the panels, the team adhered to all the livestock rules.

The system features 580 InstaGen 250w solar panels and 10 Diehl inverters.

‘Professionalism and commitment’

Praising the project, Mr Batty, who owns and manages the pig and arable farming business on behalf of RJ Wilson and Sons, remarked: “We had a very good working relationship… The team took in every detail of our particular requirements [and] they showed professionalism and commitment at every point.”

The benefits

  • A predicted fall in the farm’s running costs of 25% over the year
  • A reduction in CO2 emissions of 62 tonnes
  • The investment will pay for itself within six years

 

49.9 kWp roof mount – Chiltern District Council/ 49.5 kWp roof mount Chesham Leisure Centre

Another of our large-scale solar projects was carried out on behalf of Chiltern District Council. The local government organisation wanted to reduce its CO2 emissions and enhance its energy efficiency.

The challenges

There were a number of challenges associated with this project. For example, certain areas of the King George V Council Offices had acute shading and this had to be taken into account to ensure that the performance of the system was not affected. Also, structural roofing issues at the leisure centre meant that the panels on this site had to be spread across both of its roofs.

The solution

Working with Waldon Energy, we designed a bespoke system for the council offices and a Solar Module solution for the roof of the leisure centre. Our team worked closely with the council’s principal engineer at each stage of the process to ensure the installation met all the necessary health and safety requirements. The completed systems comprise 408 245w monocrystalline solar modules and a selection of Fronius inverters.

‘Delighted’

Commenting on the development, deputy leader of the council Michael Smith said: “We have received many positive comments from members of our community following the installation, and are really pleased to have our own renewable energy schemes installed. We now look forward to the reduction in our energy bills and are delighted that both projects help us meet our climate change objectives for the district.”

The benefits

  • Both systems combined will produce 99.8kWp per annum, which will meet around 20% of the buildings’ requirements
  • The energy generated will provide additional income through the Feed-in Tariff and it is estimated the system will pay for itself within six to eight years

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