13,860 solar panels have been installed on the roof of a massive logistics site in Telford, making it one of the largest rooftop solar plants in the UK.
The 275W solar panels were attached by EvoEnergy for Lyreco and can generate 3.8 megawatts in peak sunny conditions.
Lyreco’s 15-acre logistics site, equivalent to the size of 7.5 football pitches, is now carbon neutral in regard to electricity usage and it expects to save more than £53,000 a year on its energy bills and cut annual carbon emissions by 1,700 tonnes.
It was the largest rooftop solar system to be constructed in the UK in 2015 and is the second largest on a single building.
A team of 30 installers, electricians and project managers worked on-site during the installation process between October last year and January.
The project managers had to devise new rope access techniques and temporary skylight covers so teams could move around and work on the roof in safety.
The new solar array is one of only five rooftop systems in the UK to exceed a yearly output of 3.2 GWh and has a total coverage of 23,000 sqm.
“It takes a huge amount of careful planning and execution to make a job this large run without any hitches,” said James Sutton, a project manager for EvoEnergy which is contracted to maintain the new system until 2021.
“It’s been a team effort to get here; one that’s required all of our electrical, mechanical and civil engineering expertise, but now the PV is helping a global firm like Lyreco cut its costs and reduce its environmental impact.”
Expert high voltage electrical solutions were required from EvoEnergy to fit the panels to work with the 11,000v on-site power supply, which the team handled by incorporating specially-built step-down voltage regulators into the system’s design.
Eurosceptic Conservative MPs recently announced they would back Labour moves to block an increase to taxes on solar panels and other energy saving measures in the UK.
The government has said it has to raise the VAT charged on the clean energy measures, after the European Court of Justice ruled the UK's lower rates were illegal under European Union law.