SAPC installs solar panels following CNE consultation

As a delivery partner of the Cornwall New Energy project, BRE National Solar Centre (based at Eden Project) is supporting local SMEs and Charities in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly to help reduce energy consumption, generate renewable energy, and to develop and deliver energy-related products, services and solutions.

BRE met Beth Mayman, Operations Manager for St Austell Printing Company (SAPC) at Cornwall Business Fair 2017. SAPC had looked to install a PV system previously but had never committed to a scheme. This was partly due to the considerable amount of information on offer, sometimes conflicting, that was provided by installers. SAPC was very keen to make use of BRE’s impartial advice and technical knowledge to help develop a PV scheme, as well as to highlight other energy saving initiatives to reduce site energy consumption and become a more sustainable business.

An initial kick-off meeting took place in July 2017, which included a site survey along with data gathering. There is a separate grid connection at the two sites (SAPC1 and SAPC2) and therefore the feasibility of PV at both sites was considered. BRE submitted grid applications to determine the export limit at both sites and CAD models of both buildings were created to help determine potential PV system sizes and performance. Utilisation factors (how much of the electricity generated is used on site) for each system size/site was calculated before determining feasibility assessments of each. A number of options were put to SAPC in the final report for review, all of which provided a payback of 10 years or less. BRE also conducted a lighting assessment which highlighted the considerable savings that could be achieved by an LED replacement scheme. Battery storage systems and electric vehicle fleet vehicles were also considered. The final report was issued to SAPC in February 2018.

In the months following, BRE met with SAPC to help determine the most appropriate schemes from those identified. A 100kW and 50kW PV system at SAPC1 and SAPC2 respectively was decided upon. In both cases it was calculated that more than 80% of the renewable electricity generated would be utilised on site, allowing for much reduced import electricity consumption. BRE worked alongside SAPC to help formulate a tender and were available for comment throughout the procurement process. The two PV systems were installed by a local installer in August 2018. Annual electricity and CO2 savings are expected to be in the region of £15,000 and 58 tonnes respectively. It is hoped that SAPC will proceed with an LED replacement scheme in due course.

“It has been a real pleasure working with SAPC, and such fantastic news that our support via the Cornwall New Energy project has facilitated the installation of this renewable energy scheme. Electricity and carbon savings will be immediate and considerable, which in turn will reduce costs and improve the business’s sustainability. It goes to show that solar PV continues to be an attractive investment in an environment free from Government subsidies. ”

Adam Longfield, Consultant, BRE National Solar Centre