This section contains our current news releases and comment on matters affecting the solar PV, solar heating and small wind turbine industries. We are always happy to hear from journalists with a serious interest in our sector.

Click here to contact us or call 0118 925 5289.

29 June 2018

Tesla Powerpacks installed for MSP

Photon Energy, one of the few UK-based Tesla Powerpack certified companies, was recently appointed to install four energy storage units at Manchester Science Park.  

Manchester Science Partnerships (MSP) has undertaken a significant investment in an advanced energy strategy that includes the installation of the Tesla Powerpacks as well as two EV charging points at their flagship headquarters - the Bright Building, located at Manchester Science Park.

This pioneering project received a grant from Innovate UK’s Internet of Things smart city demonstrator project, CityVerve, in which MSP is a lead partner.

The installation initially involved employing groundworks contractors to install a concrete plinth including ducting for cables and a paved area for maintenance access. Heavy lifting equipment was hired to hoist the 2.2 tonne batteries into position. The batteries were then connected to the inverter using Tesla’s pre-fabricated wireway system. The inverter output was connected to the building’s LV supply via a G59 relay that provides protection functions. 

Suitable meters were installed to monitor parameters such as energy flows into and out of the battery, energy supply to the whole site and frequency of the supply.

MSP is hoping that by installing the Tesla Powerpacks, they will be insulated from shifting commercial tariffs and that the adoption of green technologies will substantially reduce their carbon footprint. Additionally, the Powerpacks can provide a back-up power system, should primary power fail. 

The battery system has been designed to be scalable, with the option to add up to 16 additional Powerpacks, and within 12 months, MSP envisage that the Bright Building will be an energy island - self-sufficient and operating without reliance on the National Grid. 

MSP will be closely monitoring the cost savings and CO2 reduction, with a view to installing further units at their other buildings and developments.

Of the install, Rolf Oldach, Director of Photon Energy, said: “Building on our experience with previous Powerpack projects, we had prepared as much as possible off site, allowing us to complete the mechanical and electrical installation, including metering, within a week.”

Tom Renn, Managing Director of MSP, said in their press release:

“As the only UK science and technology park operator to be offering this kind of advanced energy innovation, it’s something we’re understandably very excited about.

MSP and Bruntwood are committed to investing in our buildings, utilising cutting-edge technology to both improve the experience of our customers and reduce our carbon footprint."

02 October 2017

SunPower for Coventry Uni's Science and Health Building

Photon Energy is delighted that Coventry University's new Science and Health building, featuring our 51 kWp SunPower solar PV array, is now open to students. 

Coventry University’s new £37 million Science and Health Building, built by BAM Construct UK, has consolidated the existing teaching and research facilities into a new five-storey, 12,000 m2 building that houses state-of-the-art healthcare simulation, research and ‘super-lab’ environments. 

The world-class facilities, capable of accommodating up to 240 students, include a mock operating theatre, fully-equipped ambulance and community house to demonstrate the latest developments in assistive living technologies. 

NG Bailey, responsible for the building services for this project, awarded Photon Energy the contract to build the 51 kWp installation in early 2016. Our installation team had to mobilise quickly in order to meet the University’s tight timescale, which required a major part of the roofworks to be completed during the academic summer break of 2016.

High efficiency, SunPower 327W monocrystalline PV modules were selected in order to provide the maximum energy generation from the limited roof space. The K2 D-Dome mounting system was used to fix the 156 modules, which were then connected to Zeversolar inverters. A Zevercom datalogger was installed to allow 24 hour monitoring of the PV system performance and a Solarfox display unit was installed in the reception area of the new building.

Lefteris Giraleas, Senior Engineer at Photon Energy said “we worked in collaboration with NG Bailey and BAM to come up with the ideal design for the PV system within the available roof space. We were pleased to be able to ultimately deliver a solution that worked well for the University.”

The energy generated by the solar PV will help the building to achieve a BREEAM ‘Excellent’ rating.

Steve Butler, Project Manager at NG Bailey said: “Photon Energy made a great effort to be on-site at very short notice and have designed a system using high quality products that will maximise the output from the flat roof space available.”

20 April 2018

BAM Energy funds 140 kWp solar PV array for Three Rivers Academy

Photon Energy has installed a substantial solar PV array at state-of-the-art Three Rivers Academy in Hersham, Surrey, recently built by BAM Construction.

The Three Rivers Academy, a new secondary school in Surrey, has been designed to be a single, 16,000m² building, hosting the best of modern education facilities, whilst also promoting a feeling of community and belonging. It boasts state-of-the-art facilities including specialist classrooms for science and technology, distributed ICT provision, a large library and a range of drama studios and sports halls.

The 140 kWp PV installation was incorporated into the building design to help the school meet the renewable energy target required for achieving planning permission. The system will generate approximately 125,520 kWh of electricity per year and reduce carbon emissions by 65.1 tonnes per annum.

BAM Energy, a new division of BAM’s facilities management division – BAM FM, was appointed to fund the installation, releasing a significant sum from the construction budget. The cost of installing and operating the solar PV will be recovered through a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) where the school (managed by The Howard Partnership Trust) will buy power generated by the solar PV from BAM Energy for the next 20 years. The PPA underwent scrutiny by the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA), to ensure the fixed unit cost was competitive against grid power costs.

Photon Energy worked through the design process with BAM Energy and BAM Design in order to create a highly efficient solar PV system, with enhanced safety features and performance monitoring capability.

We installed 467 Premium series Bisol 300 Wp solar in a single array on a flat-roofed area of the building. For optimal performance SolarEdge provided an optimiser per pair of modules, linked to a Fire Fighter Gateway. The system will automatically shut down should the fire alarm go off. The high specification system also incorporates a SolarEdge GSM that connects the inverters to the internet, enabling continuous performance monitoring, right down to module level.

Jenny Palfreyman, Senior Engineer at Photon Energy said “Working closely with BAM Design enabled us to provide the right technical solution for not only the school but BAM Energy who have a long term PPA with the trust.”

Reid Cunningham, Strategic Development Director of BAM Energy said: “We worked in collaboration with Photon Energy to ensure the optimal design and performance of the solar array could be achieved. We’re confident that the high performance Bisol modules used in conjunction with SolarEdge optimisers will deliver the best solution for all parties involved."


12 September 2017

Photon install solar PV for High Speed Rail training college

Photon Energy has commissioned a 76.5 kWp rooftop solar PV system at the £21 million state-of-the-art HS2 training college in Doncaster and is delighted to have the installation shortlisted for 'Commercial Rooftop Solar PV Project' by Solar Power Portal Awards 2017.

The National College for High Speed Rail has its headquarters in Birmingham and an additional site in Doncaster. The college campuses, built by Willmott Dixon, boast cutting edge facilities that will provide specialist vocational training to the next generation of engineers working on the HS2 project.

The Doncaster site comprises 7,600m² of teaching and workshop space and will open its doors this month to the first intake of industry professionals and apprentices. Bond Bryan Architects designed this unique, modern building that features saw-tooth style peaks on the standing seam roof, made from British steel.

Photon Energy were appointed by building services contractor Briggs & Forrester, earlier this year, to install the 76.5 kWp solar PV array. Photon Energy had to meet Briggs & Forrester’s tight timescale for installation, requiring a team to be on-site within a very short space of time.

255 Bisol 300 Wp modules were attached to the south-facing sides of the saw-tooth roof, a total installed area of 490m². The 300 Wp high efficiency modules were specified to meet the energy target from the available roof space. 

Installing the modules on the 35° pitched roof peaks during windy and icy weather conditions created some health and safety challenges for the installation team.

Duncan Brewer, Engineering Manager at Photon Energy said “This project highlighted Photon Energy’s ability to take on projects with significant health and safety challenges and satisfy the strict requirements of our clients and contractors.”

The energy generated by the solar PV and a small CHP system will provide 16% of the building’s energy requirements, which has helped the building to achieve an ‘outstanding’ rating from the Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM).

Darren Cousins, Project Manager at Briggs & Forrester said: “Photon Energy were very professional throughout the installation process. They were able to be on-site at very short notice, rose to the challenge of installing the modules on the saw-tooth shaped roof areas and managed the associated health and safety issues very professionally.”