Solar PV System for World-leading University

New build student accommodation for King’s College, London, one of the world's top 20 universities, benefitted from a solar PV system designed and installed by Photon Energy, when it opened in September 2014.

Although won under competitive tender, this was repeat business for Photon Energy as the contractor, Imtech North, now part of the Imtech Aqua Group, is a past customer.

The accommodation, known as Champion Hill Residence is located in the up and coming Denmark Hill area of south east London. It comprises four 4-storey blocks containing en-suite study bedrooms together with residents’ shared kitchen and dining facilities, for over 700 students.

The nature of the building is such that electricity is required throughout the day for lighting, computers and all the other electronic or electrical devices that students may need. This is in addition to shared services such as lighting of the corridors.

As with every new build project , the solar PV work programme involved phased installation to fit in with the construction programme on a confined site. Work on site started in February 2014 and was completed in August.

Photon Energy handled the entire solar PV installation from design to installation and commissioning, along with the application to the distribution network operator for permission to connect the system to the electricity grid. “Components were specified on the basis of high performance combined with value for money to suit the customer’s budget, and this along with close cooperation on site, resulted in an efficient project, completed to budget and on time,” said Photon Energy’s assistant project engineer Rikki Baker.

By selecting Upsolar polycrystalline M-250P panels and highly efficient Aurora Trio 27.6-TL inverters from manufacturer, Power One, Photon Energy achieved the required power output by installing solar PV panels on just three out of the four blocks.

The company installed 136, 250Wp panels on each of three flat roofs, that’s 408 panels in total, to deliver a projected 90,060kWh/year with an annual carbon saving of 47.6 tonnes of CO2. Inverters were installed in fourth floor plant rooms and connected to distribution boards on the second floor of each block.

The new Hilti MSP-FR flat roof PV mounting system was chosen as minimal ballast is required, making it suitable for flat roofs with limited load bearing ability. It was not necessary to penetrate the roof membrane with this system and the tilt angles allow optimum use of the roof area while allowing for a generous flow of air under the panels, which helps to raise the annual power output.

“Working with Photon Energy, we have found their approach to be proactive throughout all project stages, identifying potential cost savings though FIT, a professional installation team with a support based office team able to deal with any issues swiftly,” said Chris McPartland, senior contracts manager, Imtech North.