Biomass specialists raising the bar with new training for firms

Ben Tansey, co-founder of re:heat

 BIOMASS heating pioneers re:heat are using their expertise to raise professional standards in the wood heat industry.

The North East team are being called upon for specialist training as more schools, hospitals and major businesses move away from traditional fossil-fuelled systems towards biomass.

Whilst there’s a rise in the number of firms installing and running the systems nationally, there are currently few relevant standards to help regulate the industry.

Yet despite the lack of standards, employers have an obligation to ensure operators of the specialist equipment are fully trained and understand the risks, benefits and maintenance requirements linked to biomass boilers.

Ben Tansey, co-founder of re:heat, said: “Whether it’s health and safety, risk assessment or refreshing the basics, employers have an obligation to make sure operators are competent when maintaining these innovative and large pieces of equipment.

“It is also key for staff to fully understand how to operate the systems effectively in order to secure the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) and avoid cost implications for businesses.”

With re:heat co-founder Neil Harrison elected to the board of directors for the Wood Heat Association (WHA) at the start of 2015, the business has increasingly been called upon to develop training packages to ensure operator competency.

Mr Tansey added: “We recently completed a successful operator competency review and delivered a bespoke training programme with Robertson Facilities Management who are responsible for the operation of multiple biomass boilers at sites across Newcastle upon Tyne.

“Following one-to-one reviews with each of their operators we were able to identify areas where we could offer support and guidance. We then developed a set of training courses to ensure a consistent standard and compliance with manufacturers’ requirements.

“Since launching re:heat in 2011 we have been aware of a real demand for training across the whole sector. The marketplace is increasingly crowded as companies from all manner of other industries, many without a solid grounding in biomass, move in.

“What we are delivering in the North East is a huge step forward in raising professional standards in the industry, contributing to the reputation of biomass heating as an option that is a sound choice for businesses and the public sector.

“With the RHI providing financial incentives for running biomass boilers, it’s vital that caretakers, operators and front-line engineering staff appreciate why biomass boilers need to run, what the possible risks are if they are not operated correctly and how to perform basic but essential maintenance.

“There are a limited number of relevant training courses in the biomass sector which is why we approached the Robertson Facilities Management team with a bespoke package of skills evaluations. As a result the biomass boilers they installed are being properly maintained and are therefore running more efficiently.”

Allan Dryden, regional manager for Robertson Facilities Management, added: “As a responsible employer we need to ensure that all of the operators of our biomass boilers understand why we use the boilers, how the technology works and what we need to do to look after them. The team at re:heat has delivered a great package of review, evaluation and subsequent delivery of an operator-friendly training package.”

Founded in 2011, re:heat’s innovation in the field of biomass sees the team informing Government reports and transforming heating systems in schools, hospitals and businesses across the UK.

To find out more about its training programme and biomass systems visit, email or ring 01665 665 040.



Have you had a second warning?

The Environment Agency has sent out second letters to organisations that qualify for ESOS

The letters have been sent to directors at each organisation which the Environment Agency believes will meet the ESOS qualification threshold. The intention is to prompt organisations covered by ESOS to take action now to comply – rather than waiting until nearer the deadline.

Darryl Mattocks (pictured above), Managing Director of Enistic, energy management specialists based in Oxford, said ”We are urging you to consider this letter as a warning. Act now and ensure that you have a Lead Assessor working with you or risk not finding one as we get closer to the deadline of 5 December.

“There are only just over 700 qualified Leas Assessors to work with the 10,000 plus organisations that fall within the Regulations. Don’t wait for the last minute scramble, but get ahead and book a free consultation and scoping meeting with us to plan out how we can guarantee your ESOS compliance within deadline and all for a fixed fee.

“Remember that if one member of your group qualifies then the whole group is subject to ESOS and all UK energy supplies must be considered.”

Enistic can provide businesses with a Lead Assessor as part of the company’s Easy ESOS scheme which offers guaranteed compliance and peace of mind for an agreed fixed fee. The initial scoping meeting is a free service, to find out more see the Enistic website at phone 0844 875 1600 or email

About Enistic

Established in 2009, Enistic leads the way in Energy Management solutions. With headquarters in Oxford and subsidiaries throughout Europe, New Zealand, Canada and South Africa, Enistic has designed and implemented energy saving systems in organisations throughout the world; from start-ups to global giants.
Automatic energy Monitoring and Targeting, Measurement and Verification equipment and software is designed and developed in the UK to save energy, reduce costs and minimise carbon emissions.

  • ESOS
    By 5th December 2015 all large UK undertakings must conduct and report energy efficiency audits to the Environment Agency. This applies to:
    All organisations with over 250 staff
    Or turnover of over 50 million Euros (£38,937,777) and an annual balance sheet total in excess of 43 million euro (£33,486,489)

Fit EC when replacing fans and gain more than just energy saving

A recent replacement of old failing fans in Fan Coil Units with high efficiency EC fans has shown that the return on investment is beyond just the energy saving. The facility management company has found that the simple control and monitoring offered by EC fan technology is a simple gain on the back of the financial benefit of upgrading to EC.

Until ten years ago all fans in Fan Coil Units were driven by AC induction motors. The fan speed was set by using a transformer to reduce the applied voltage to lower the speed. This method of speed control is not efficient and also limited to a few different voltage tapings on the transformer. In addition, when changing the speed someone had to get a ladder to remove ceiling tiles to then change a position of a switch.

Ten years ago ebm-papst introduced EC motor technology to Fan Coil Units. Not a new technology at the time as it was already utilised by the refrigeration companies in Food Display Cases and other industries such as Clean Rooms. It took a little longer for the HVAC market to pick up the energy saving benefits of EC technology. Ten years later EC technology is now an established technology and since the introduction of the 2013 building regulations is the main way to meet the more demanding specific fan power limit.

ebm-papst is still promoting EC in Fan Coil Units, not in new build but to replace failed and ailing AC fans in old installed fan coil units. A recent upgrade in the headquarters of a leading accountancy and auditing firm has shown that the benefit of EC technology is not just the energy reduction. When ebm-papst visited to discuss the potential savings versus the investment to change, the facility management company realised that there were other benefits too.

The facility management company commented that they never knew when a fan had failed in a Fan Coil Unit (FCU) until they had complaints. Also they could not adjust the speed of the unit due to changes in occupancy without disrupting the office staff or working out of hours. Despite these challenges, the solution was simple; use the speed control and monitoring features of the EC fans. If the return on investment is accepted to upgrade to EC fans then why not also fit simple monitoring and control using ModBus communication.

When the fans were upgraded on the first of the ten floors the control and monitoring arrangement was also fitted, as shown by the diagram. This included a control unit on each FCU to monitor the operation and control the speed of each fan. Two zone controllers across the floor link the FCUs to a central monitoring point on each floor. This unit monitor is the easily accessible point to remotely set fan speeds and monitor the floor. If a fault occurs then this is communicated by BMS to facilitate a controlled maintenance before the occupants notice a change.

What of the energy saving? The second floor of the east wing was changed first to prove the energy savings and benefits of the monitoring and control. Fans in 49 Fan Coil Units were upgraded to EC fans and the end result is a 75 per cent reduction in power consumption, some 24,000 kWh per year saved.

The end client is convinced and has now started the process to upgrade the remaining 1,200 Fan Coil Units as well as the more convenient monitoring and control system on the back of the investment.


Nomophobia – A Big Challenge for Business

Nadine Deery, Channel Marketing Manager, Honeywell

The number of devices we own is multiplying at an uncontrollable rate. A recent study by Strategy Analytics predicts that there will be a staggering 33 billion connected devices by 2030, and the number of connections per person will double to roughly 4.3.  Perhaps more significantly, round-the-clock connectivity is now so deeply stitched into the fabric of our day to day lives that a new ‘phobia’ has been created; Nomophobia – a fear of being without a mobile device.

A recent study into mobile device habits by MK Electric, a wiring accessories manufacturer, firmly demonstrates just how shackled Britons are to their smartphones and tablets. The figures are particularly pronounced amongst Millennials – the workforce of tomorrow. 84 per cent carry chargeable devices while travelling, and over a quarter have ‘lost contact’ with people while on the road due to a loss of battery power. The survey also shows losing battery power can make Millennials feel ‘very frustrated’ (39 per cent) and anxious (26 per cent).

Device proliferation and ‘Nomophobia’ aren’t just consumer problems; they also represent big challenges for business. Whether its hoteliers trying to attract and retain guests, educators trying to deliver a first-class service to high school or university students, airports trying to win the loyalty of regular travellers, or retailers trying to keep customers in-store so they’ll spend more money, if you can’t offer a mobile charging service then how are you going to keep the demanding Millennial generation coming back time and time again? The worrying answer is; you probably won’t.

The answer is USB charging. The vast majority of the mobile devices that Millennials are surgically attached to are USB-powered, and can be charged up using a USB cable. If schools, hotels, shops, airport lounges take the easy, cost-effective step of installing USB charging solutions on-site, they will instantly make their premises, and by extension their services, more attractive to their target audience. If it’s a straight-up decision between an airport coffee shop covered in handy, USB charging modules or one without; there’s no contest, is there?


Over the past eighteen months that has been significant innovation in this sector. Traditionally the most popular form of USB charging has been the standalone module, however, recently manufacturers have added a second option to the mix; USB modules integrated into a standard twin socket. This allows businesses to integrate USB charging functionality into their existing power points, taking advantage of existing wiring and circuitry. In addition, solutions like the MK USB Integrated Socket allow four devices to be charged at once – two plugs, two USBs – for the days that Nomophobic customers are fighting over power outlets; an increasingly common scenario.

Another important innovation is the advent of dynamic device recognition (DDR); a ‘smart’ approach to charging devices via USB. If multiple devices – say two smartphones – are charging in one integrated socket, DDR has the intelligence to decipher, based on the make and manufacturer of a device, the specific charging requirements to power each device accordingly.

To the naked eye there may not appear to be a difference in how your mobile or tablet charges. However, device manufacturers have adopted their own, sometimes different, configurations for charging. This means a device running on an iOS platform may have different charging requirements than one that’s run on an Android or Windows Platform.

So what does this mean for the average consumer? When plugging in an iPhone® that’s only at 20 percent charge and a Windows phone at 80 percent charge, the iPhone® may be “hungrier”, requiring more power from the socket to charge efficiently. The socket is smart enough to recognize this and ensure more charging power is allocated to the iPhone®. In a world where every bar of battery counts, the ability to squeeze every inch of ‘juice’ from a charging outlet between lectures, meetings or flights is critical.

In conclusion, in a world where the number of devices we own is only going in one direction and our attachment to those devices is borderline-excessive, businesses must prioritise investing in USB charging solutions on their premises. Smart companies – retailers, hoteliers, educators – understand that along with Wi-Fi – a utility that is increasingly as important as electricity or running water – the ability to charge a device must be ubiquitous.

For more information visit:


VMU-Y makes a piece of cake out of multi-site energy management

Carlo Gavazzi presents a no annual fee solution

For many organisations the key to successful energy monitoring is flexibility and as such a solution which provides the ability to monitor a single site or multiple sites and installations via a gateway is essential.

But the ability for this solution to be scalable is also a major benefit for companies large and small because it enables their energy management system to evolve with the company.   Carlo Gavazzi’s VMU-Y EM is one such solution providing all the benefits of a multi-site solution without ongoing costs.

The newly launched VMUY-EM enclosed in a compact 2-DIN module and allows the user to aggregate information from up to 10 VMU-C EM units within a single centralised interface. This effectively allows you to monitor up to 320 meters and access the information from any PC using a standard web browser with no recurrent annual fees.

All data can be viewed through the web browser which uses a highly interactive software interface, providing exportable data from selection of AC, DC and environmental variables in either xls or csv format.  Alarms and warnings are logged and automatically emailed allowing for immediate action.

Complete with an impressive 32GB on board data storage which is substantial enough to store up to 30 years of historical data.  To help minimise costs, VMU-Y allows estimations of the monthly costs based on the energy monitored which is calculated by its embedded dual tariff.

For more information regarding Carlo Gavazzi and its range of products, please visit the website:


Are You Ready for ESOS?

Nearly three quarters of businesses (73%) have not started their mandatory energy audits to comply with the new ESOS legislation by the deadline of 5 December 2015.

According to a new poll, conducted by Energy Live News, 61% of businesses surveyed have not yet appointed a lead assessor, with a minority of only 27% of businesses already ESOS compliant.

Under the new initiative large organisations in the UK* need to comply with the Regulations by measuring and reporting on energy use for a full 12 months across their sites or risk heavy fines of up to £50,000 plus extra charges of £500 per day (for up to 80 days).

The survey reported that 52% of organisations are citing lack of time and resources as the biggest barrier and 27% admitting identifying and collating data as the main challenge to complying with the scheme.

Darryl Mattocks, Managing Director of Enistic, energy management specialists, commented: “We are working hard to help organisations meet their ESOS obligations with as little pain as possible. Our Easy ESOS scheme is designed to take the pressure off. Starting with a free, no obligation scoping meeting, we can discuss the organisations energy consumption, available data, building portfolio, any industrial processes and transport in order to produce a tailored approach, time frame and fixed price for compliance.”

The poll also found that over half of the businesses surveyed have not yet appointed a lead assessor. This is amid concerns around supply and demand – with fewer than 500 lead assessors available for over 10,000 businesses who fall within ESOS.

Darryl Mattocks (pictured above) said: “The pressure on the limited number of lead assessors available to work on ESOS means that organisations really shouldn’t wait to act. The months from now until 5 December will fly by.”

According to the government, businesses could save £1.9 billion on energy bills, citing calculations that investing £15,000 a year on energy efficiency measures as recommended by the assessment could lead to bill savings of more than £56,000 per year.

Darryl commented “A monitoring and targeting campaign can identify significant energy savings for organisations averaging 28% but in some cases up to 45%. So the work in complying with the Regulations can bring opportunities to make some real cost savings.”

For more information and to check if your organisation needs to comply with ESOS contact the Enistic team telephone: 0844 875 1600 or email or see


Powerstar to exhibit new energy storage solution at Sustainability Live 2015

Powerstar will be showcasing their market-leading voltage optimisation solutions, including the newly launched pioneering energy storage system Powerstar Virtue on stand L20 at Sustainability Live at the NEC on the 21st – 23rd April 2015.

Since the turn of the century the patented Powerstar voltage optimisation solutions have been not only saving private and public sector organisations money on their electricity bills but cutting carbon emissions as well.

The UK brand has grown into a world-leader in its field and now its research and development team have pushed the boundaries even further with Powerstar Virtue.

Like all Powerstar solutions the system is guaranteed to save money, but it does much more than this and since its recent launch Powerstar Virtue has already attracted huge interest.

How does Powerstar Virtue work?

In simple terms, Powerstar Virtue uses the patented Powerstar voltage optimisation technology and harnesses the induced negative power feedback to divert the energy saved from the installation of a voltage optimisation system to a storage medium. The system allows for savings in electricity costs by enabling users to come off-grid during times of high tariffs, diverting to the energy stored during times of low demand.

The solution can also be integrated with on-site renewable energy generation to combine the energy saved from the voltage optimisation system with that generated from the renewable energy source. As a result, renewable energy can be made more reliable.

Powerstar Virtue’s load controller dictates the amount of power required and the master controller manages the output of power to the storage medium, and communicates with the Powerstar voltage optimisation system to charge the batteries efficiently, diverting any excess current during charging back to the grid.

Powerstar Virtue also allows users to become a VPS (virtual power station) reliably forecasting how much power will be available at all times so informed decisions can be made on when stored energy should be used, which will lead to significant savings on electricity and take advantage of National Grid led initiatives such as FDR, STOR and EDR.

Unique and patented – induced negative power feedback

Between 70% and 80% of the savings achieved through Powerstar voltage optimisation are through the induced negative power feedback – generated as a result of the unique, patented design of the technology, and a key component for the Powerstar Virtue system. The remaining 20% to 30% savings are gained from the improvement in equipment efficiencies due to appliances operating at a voltage more suited to their operating requirements.

Integrated with long established successful technologies

Powerstar Virtue is integrated with either a Powerstar MAX or Powerstar HV MAX voltage optimisation system, both established technologies.

Powerstar MAX is an electronic-dynamic, variable voltage optimisation system that provides a stable voltage output by automatically adjusting and maintaining voltage at the optimum level. Powerstar MAX is ideal for sites with fluctuating voltage, high night loads or critical equipment requiring additional security.

Powerstar HV MAX provides a combined solution to common problems, combining a super low-loss amorphous core HV/LV transformer with integrated variable voltage optimisation technology, allowing for 11,000V input (other inputs available) and regulated 380V or user defined output.

The super-low loss amorphous core transformer used in Powerstar HV MAX will provide 3% to 10% savings on traditional HV/LV transformers. It is ideal for larger facilities and manufacturing sites with their own transformers.

Energy Storage – the way forward

Energy storage has emerged as one of the best solutions to address the fact that energy grids around the world are struggling to cope with the surge in demand for electricity, which continues to accelerate – in the UK peak demand on the grid is expected to increase six-fold by 2050 – and Imperial College London’s Energy Futures Lab has estimated that energy storage technologies could generate savings of £10bn a year by 2050 in the UK.

Storing energy for use at a time when tariffs are high is a natural and obvious progression. Storage is also crucial if we want a significant part of our energy to come from renewable sources. This new system makes a ‘virtue’ out of that necessity, providing the energy user with greater control and flexibility over their energy supply to avoid energy wastage and maximise savings.

Powerstar awards

Not surprisingly a host of awards and accreditations have been bestowed on Powerstar solutions, recognising the huge strides the solutions have made in the energy management market, cutting costs, carbon footprints, and CO2 emissions, while at the same time protecting customers’ corporate social responsibility and reputations.

Email to arrange a meeting and a full demonstration of Powerstar Virtue with a Powerstar team member at Sustainability Live.


Solar PV Louvres for Taplow Shopping Centre

A unique installation of solar photovoltaic (PV) louvres has been completed and commissioned at the Bishop Centre retail park, close to Taplow Station on the A4 (Bath Road) between Maidenhead and Slough. What differentiates this system from all others is that Photon Energy designed and installed a solar PV installation using bespoke glass laminates on the front elevation of the building.

The 188 Romag monocrystalline glass laminates are installed in 47 bays along the front of units two to nine, mounted on an aluminium carrier system and have a maximum DC power output of just over 12 kWp.

Triada Vlasakoudi, one of the project engineers responsible for the work said: “There were a number of significant challenges with this installation, but the finished look is just what the architect at the 3DReid practice wanted for a quality retail park. We were very pleased to be able to complete the installation within the extremely tight schedule.”

Firstly, the frames for the louvre system had to be assembled on the ground, and DC cables for the glass laminates were run through the frames and the torsion tubes. A telehandler was then used to lift the assembled frames into position. This was not an easy task as each frame weighed 120kg and measured around 3m x 2.5m.  Fitting the frames into the glulam (engineered wood) fascia was a very difficult operation as the tolerance around the frames within the glulam openings was just 12mm at the sides and bottom and 20mm at the top.  The operation was further complicated as the operatives had to work at a height of 8 metres from a scissor lift platform.

Once the laminates had been put into position, the DC cable containment for the wiring of the louvres was installed behind the frames above the soffits of the timber canopy construction. The wiring connections were completed after the soffits were installed, which also limited the access.

In addition to the very visible PV louvres, the full installation also included roof mounted solar PV modules on the roof of the TK Maxx store and on the adjacent unit occupied by Nike. This involved the installation of 160 monocrystalline Perlight PLM-250 modules with a total power rating of 40kWp, to give a maximum DC power of 26.5kWp in unit two with the remainder in unit three. Annual carbon savings are expected to be 17.55 tonnes for unit two and 6.22 tonnes for unit three.

K2 Speedrail/Speed clips were used for all roof mountings and Goodwe inverters were used throughout.

The main contractor – Photon Energy’s client – was Bowmer and Kirkland, who reinstated the existing Bishop Centre for owners Land Securities to form a new £20m shopping centre consisting of 10 units with over 400 car parking spaces led by a 5110 sq metre Tesco store.

Simon Masters, Bowmer and Kirkland’s site manager said: “This was the first time I had worked with the system which Photon Energy installed at the Bishop Centre Taplow, and it has been a pleasure. Photon Energy is a professional contractor in terms of its management and fitters and I would not hesitate to work with them again. The project manager Triada Vlasakoudi was always at the end of the phone to answer any queries as was any of the team. I look forward to working with them in the future.”

Photon Energy won the work through a competitive tender, after an extended consultative process and preliminary work with the 3DReid architectural practice. A single aluminium frame complete with eight louvres was installed for final approval by the architect, main contractor and project owner prior to the start of the roof work in late April 2104.

Simon Brambles from 3DReid said: “Photon Energy brought its specialist expertise to deliver a well-designed bespoke PV louvre system for the Bishop Centre project in Taplow. The engagement with ourselves and the design team from the outset and through to installation ensured delivery of a sustainable and practical solution that met the original brief’s objectives.”


Turning public sector buildings into mini-power stations

It’s likely that every public sector building will have a solar installation on a flat or south-facing rooftop by 2025. But only those who act now will benefit from subsidies, writes Robert Goss, MD Conergy UK

There are not many chances in life to do the right thing and improve the bottom line. Right now, there is an excellent opportunity for the managers of public sector buildings to take advantage of existing subsidies to lower their energy outgoings or generate cheaper energy for tenants. Using the energy produced locally also reduces transmission losses – read “waste” – and takes pressure off the grid.

In fact, it may surprise you to learn that when it comes to solar photovoltaic (PV) power, Britain is now Europe’s leading nation with more than 2,000 megawatts (MW) being installed last year.

The UK government’s position is that solar PV is an important part of its energy portfolio, ranking alongside nuclear, gas, coal and wind. But while solar supports 16,000 jobs up and down the country, from Devon to Durham, just a handful of the nation’s council offices, hospitals, schools and social housing have been kitted out with panels so far.

Government planning data show that almost all very large solar projects, which tend to be ground mounted, are privately owned. One notable exception is a publicly owned project at a former RAF base where Norfolk County Council is building a 50 MW solar farm, under a 25-year lease to a renewable energy company.

The growth of solar has been meteoric. A decade ago, solar panel prices were as high as £4.00 per watt, and the global market for solar was 500MW installed per year. That is equivalent to the peak production of one small gas power plant. Today, prices are around £0.40 per watt, and the global market in 2014 was over 42,000MW – equal to the peak capacity of more than 40 nuclear power stations.

Remarkably, the size of the UK market puts us ahead of much sunnier Mediterranean countries. Britain even installed more solar panels than Germany last year, where nearly 6 per cent of electricity already comes from solar. Germany is still the world leader in cumulative installed capacity, but we are growing fast, and are likely to be the biggest European market for solar again this year.

Utilities are undergoing a seismic shift as a result of solar power. Last December Germany’s biggest utility, E.ON, decided to hive off all its conventional fossil fuel generation to focus on renewables and energy services. E.ON said that its new strategy was a result of rising renewable energy competitiveness. The same will happen here.

Solar farms of up to 15 acres are eligible for Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROCs) which utilities are required to acquire to meet targets for renewably produced electricity, and have been hugely successful. However the government increasingly favours the installation of solar on rooftops and there is a significant opportunity for public sector buildings – especially those with plenty of roof-space.

The government favours rooftops for three reasons. First, energy losses in the UK grid are significant – around 7.2 per cent. This is reduced by using energy generated locally, by workers in public buildings during the day for example, rather than by feeding it into the grid. Secondly, because roof-top solar power generates about three times more jobs per megawatt installed than large, ground-mounted solar farms. And thirdly, because Britain has significant manufacturing capability in manufacturing solar components including panels, mounting systems and meters.

For the same reasons, solar panels are attractive in social housing, where they can also help the less well-off by cutting energy bills and keeping prices down and predictable long-term. Much of the benefit to date from solar power has gone to large landowners for solar farms, so more installations on social housing would be a welcome community benefit.

Solar in Britain has a load factor of a little more than 10 per cent, which means that averaged over the year, including night-time, an installation will generate power equivalent to about a tenth of its capacity, about the same as in Germany. To maximise yield and revenues, you must get as close to this 10 per cent figure as possible.

This does not necessarily mean a south-facing installation. If most of the electricity consumed on-site is at lunchtime this can make sense, but it is often better to go for an east- or west-facing installation, which generate more electricity during the morning and afternoon. Worth noting that there is of course some difference between the north and south of the country, but solar panels are still cost-effective in the highlands of Scotland.

Solar installations on rooftops earn money from government feed-in-tariffs, which are still very cost-effective because of huge declines in technology and installation costs thanks to the boom in the industry. There are increasingly attractive financing schemes available, and operating and maintenance costs are very low.

For managers of public buildings, it is worth considering that the government is beefing up support for large roof-tops. For the first time they will distinguish between large roof-tops of between 50 kilowatts and 5 megawatts, and solar farms. Incentives for solar fall as they are used up, so this move will ring-fence the roof-top market for longer, giving finance directors more time to plan installations

The government is also trying to make it easier for landlords and tenants to have solar panels installed, and is consulting on changes to allow both tenants and landlords to physically transfer an installation, if they move. The aim is to lower investment risk and increase the flexibility of the scheme. This move is expected to open up a big new market for the solar industry. Central government is also taking a lead as the owner or tenant of its enormous public estate of government offices, Ministry of Defence buildings, and the vast Crown Estate, which includes prime retail and leisure property.

According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, Conergy is a top-five solar developer in Britain, and we have invested considerably in our rooftops team. We bring huge experience from around the world to local installations, and are well-versed in the particular needs of the public sector. We urge building owners to act now. Recent research showed that large-scale, roof-top projects may be the first solar sector to be competitive without subsidies. Because these buildings are occupied in the daytime, when the sun is shining, they make a small profit through savings on utility bills, before accounting for the subsidies. It is very likely therefore there will be no subsidies in a few years.

Smart managers of public buildings are seizing the opportunity of current subsidies to create a long-term revenue stream and cut their energy bills. And they are backed by the government. Last April, the then energy and climate minister Greg Barker said the government aimed to install up to 1,000 MW of solar PV on public land and buildings. Substantial progress is expected in 2015. Together we can make that relatively modest ambition a reality.

This article appeared as the cover story for the February 2015 issue of Building & Facilities Management.


Ecolution powers Cambridge University sports centre as it turns to green energy

 The new sports centre at the University of Cambridge has had a unique Solar PV system installed by Ecolution, a leader in the design and installation of renewable systems. The company designed a bespoke PV system that curves on two axes, resulting in very complex shading patterns and light levels. The system was installed in just four weeks and is estimated to offset 37,409kg in CO2 emissions.

Paul Squire, Ecolution’s designer on the project, said: “This was an extremely complex design, and accuracy has been essential throughout – from the individually optimised modules to the building’s BMS connection. It has been a challenging installation as the roof has very sharp falls, plus the specialist zinc covering needs protecting during installation. The CO2 offset targets were challenging and much time was spent designing and demonstrating the system to achieve the BREEAM Very Good standard.”

This was a complete turn-key project in which Ecolution designed and installed a 78.75kWp system using 200 SOLON SOLraise modules embedded with Solar Edge optimisers. Chris Bratherton, Group Sales Manager, Ecolution said: “The installation on the sports centre’s curved Rheinzink standing seam roof was complex as the roof falls in multiple directions, which gave each module installed a unique orientation and pitch – with a conventional system this would affect performance and yield.”

Ecolution mounted the system on the centre’s Rheinzink roof using S-5!-E clamps and utilised SafeDC™ technology to provide system safety during installation, maintenance and emergencies. SafeDC™ is a web-based monitoring system used to detect faults on all areas of the installation and provides an automatic message for precise fault recognition. Ecolution used the technology to log the performance of each module so they can be remotely monitored.

The installation was able to achieve up to 25% higher output through module level Maximum Power Point (MPP) tracking. MPP tracking enables the system to maximise the energy from each module individually which ensures peak efficiency.

University of Cambridge vice chancellor Professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz said that the University was committed to a low carbon future and that the wider £1 billion development in North West Cambridge would be one of the most sustainable developments of its scale in the UK. The PV system installed is estimated to generate 71.8MWh of electricity annually which would contribute to the University’s sustainability goals going forward.

Ecolution has been working with the building industry for over 25 years, providing renewable energy solutions for over a decade, with an expert team who have long-term experience in the design, installation and maintenance of integrated renewable technologies. Ecolution operates within the commercial and residential sectors, providing solar hot water systems, and solar photovoltaic systems.

T: 08452666558