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J T Hawkes Completes Three Solar Farms In Dorset and Isle of Wight

Birmingham electrical services contractor JT Hawkes has brought renewable energy to thousands of homes in Dorset and the Isle of Wight after fitting out three solar farms.

The environmental specialist battled successfully against the clock through one of the worst winters on record to design and install the electricity plant in only eight weeks.

In doing so it was able to beat the crucial deadline for a reduction in the Renewable Obligation (RO) incentives for new generators that came into effect on March 31.

Witton-based JT Hawkes worked as the electrical subcontractor for German photovoltaic general contractor abakus solar AG on the £2.2m contract to fit out all three farms for Low Carbon Solar Ltd, which funded the projects by leading solar developer Inazin Power.

abakus installed a total of 75,000 photovoltaic solar panels that now generate up to 18 megawatts (MW) of electricity per year.

Mounted at a height of three metres on 120 acres of farmland split at three sites, the panels provide sufficient energy to power almost 4,000 homes as well as prevent up to 10,300 tonnes of carbon emissions.

The sites at Wareham and Shroton in Dorset and Freshwater on the Isle of Wight all presented logistical challenges because of their remoteness.

The 7MW Isle of Wight farm, for which all the material had to be ferried in, is the largest to be developed on the island, powering up to 1,652 homes.

JT Hawkes designed and installed the entire power distribution network for each farm, which included building trenches for a total of 570,000 metres of solar cable and direct current supply cabling. It also fitted the inverters to convert the electricity from direct to alternating current to feed into the national grid via substations.

Roland Wigger, Head of Sales for abakus, said: “Our success in delivering such challenging projects to our clients on time is down to the experience and expertise of highly valued partners such as JT Hawkes.”

Jason Gerber, Project Manager for Inazin Power, commented: “As one of the UK’s leading solar developing companies – with an ambitious development programme – it was imperative that we met the RO deadline in order to maintain investor comfort and on-going support in this ever changing industry. The success of our projects has been down to the immense effort from our EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) contractors delivering projects in terrible conditions and timescales. Great thanks go to all who made it possible.

“JT Hawkes worked in very difficult conditions to enable three solar farms with a combined capacity of 18 megawatts to become operational in a very tight timescale with time to spare. We were delighted with the company’s performance and quality of work, which was completed to an extremely high standard.”

John Hawkes, Managing Director of JT Hawkes, which completed its first solar farm for abakus and Inazin – at that time Britain’s biggest – in Wiltshire in 2011, said: “The success of these projects proves that we have become one of the UK’s leading contractors for new commercial solar power projects.”

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Source: Midlands Business News