Hitachi Rail Europe

Photon Energy installed a 1 MWp PV system on the Hitachi Rail manufacturing facility in Newton Aycliffe working alongside Macquarie Bank.

Details of the installation

The system comprises 3800 PV modules mounted in four arrays on the roof with the inverters located within the building. It has a total capacity of 1 MW and is expected to generate around 824,000 kWh of energy per annum, approximately 20% of the total site requirement. Remote performance monitoring capability has also been installed to ensure the system performs as designed.

Hitachi Rail is part of a consortium which was awarded a £5.8bn contract to finance, design, manufacture, maintain and service the next generation of intercity carriages to improve the UK’s mainline rail services.

The PV system was financed by Macquarie Lending who signed a 25 year Power Purchase Agreement and a 25 year Roof Lease Agreement with Hitachi. The arrangement involves an innovative 20-year power purchase model under which Macquarie Lending leases the commercial roof space from the building owner and finances the capital cost of the solar PV installation. In return Macquarie Lending receives the Feed-in-Tariff and sells the electricity generated to the building owner. Owners of buildings benefit from the certainty of linking their electricity price to RPI for 20 years, and a smaller carbon footprint due to their use of solar power.

Photon Energy also had to ensure the PV systems met Macquarie’s investment conditions and had a predicted performance ratio of at least 83%.  Initial commissioning of the system gave a performance ratio of 91.35%.

Jenny Palfreyman, Senior Engineer of Photon Energy, said, “Hitachi Rail went through a detailed and comprehensive process of competitive tendering, risk review and intensive commercial and contract negotiations in order to award the contract to Photon Energy. During this process it thoroughly researched the technology and tested the market and concluded that Photon Energy had the best commercial and engineering solutions.”

Equipment summary

  • System size: 1 MWp
  • PV modules: Trina Solar 265 W
  • Inverters: ABB TRIO27.6 x 28
  • Mounting system: K2 Speed Rail

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