The Solar Digest for Solar Power, Solar Energy and Photovoltaic PV News - Installation

Solar PVs For Prestigious Reading Office Development

Installation of an integrated solar PV system has just been completed at 1 Forbury Place, Reading. The property is among the biggest speculative office developments yet to be seen in the Thames valley.

Reading based Photon Energy Ltd was appointed to design and install a solar PV system for part of the roof and the south, east and west façades of the eight storey building, by Briggs & Forrester a leading building services engineering company. The main contractor for the £38m project was Galliford Try.

The solar PV system is one element of an ambitious range of measures designed to achieve a BREEAM Excellent rating and an EPC rating of B, and, unusually, has been designed and installed to form an integral part of the building. The system comprises 292 Upsolar 250Wp modules in total, to give a power output of 73kWp, together with five Huawei inverters to covert the DC power into AC. Both the modules and inverters were chosen for a combination of cost and technical reasons. The projected annual carbon saving is 26,110kg.

Having won the contract on the basis of highly competitive pricing and good communications with the building services contractor, Photon Energy’s highly qualified professional engineers completed the detailed design work over a period of two months, earlier this year.

The installers comprised three electricians and three roofers, who worked on the building over a number of weeks, usually in teams of two, three or four people. The major challenges they faced were working in conjunction with many other trades on site and mounting a proportion of the modules vertically as a façade to act as a plant screen.

The installation is also unusual in that three different types of mounting system were needed to ensure the energy requirement was met. A ballasted mounting system was used for the 46 PV modules installed on the flat roof. Two trapezoidal roof mounting systems, each housing 20 modules, were used on the roofs of the switch room and stair core and a further 206 modules have been vertically mounted on the south, east and west façades of the building to screen the rooftop plant.

The vertical mountings required bespoke heavy duty rail, fixed on steel posts spaced 3.75m apart in some locations. This is a very significant span to cover by regular PV mounting system standards.

Jonathan Bates, director and general manager at Photon Energy said: “We enjoy the very considerable challenges of designing and installing integrated solar PV systems, and this project has been no exception. It is one of the most advanced installations we have worked on to date. Following the successful completion of the project, the company is now looking at pricing a further installation for No 2 Forbury Place.

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About Photon Energy
Photon Energy is one of the UK’s leading independent companies in the solar PV industry, designing, supplying and installing systems for commercial, agricultural and other private sector applications and the public sector. It is a certified installer under the Micro-generation Certification Scheme The company’s strengths lie in its technical and engineering excellence and its insistence on providing every customer with a top quality service and excellent value for money.

The company has its headquarters at Reading, Berkshire and offices in Poole, Dartford and Huddersfield