Largest single-roof local authority-owned solar panel system in the UK completed

Westbury/ UK, Sep 04, 2014: Work to install the largest single-roof Local Authority-owned solar panel system in the UK on the roof of the new Northacre Resource Recovery Centre (RRC) in Westbury in the South West of England has been completed.
The 1,248 solar panels from manufacturer Vikram Solar – covering an area equivalent to more than seven tennis courts – will generate over 280,500 units (kWh) of electricity each year. This electricity, all of which will be consumed on site at Northacre RRC, will help to power the mechanical biological treatment process used to turn household waste into solid recovered fuel (SRF) in place of it being sent to landfill.
The benefits of the solar panel system to Wiltshire Council are significant, with annual bill savings and income from the Feed-in Tariff of over £55,000, as well as annual CO2 emission reductions of 148 tonnes. Over 20 years the benefits are expected to exceed £1.5 million, and avoid CO2 emissions of over 2,720 tonnes.*
Crucially for a plant such as Northacre RRC with a high energy requirement, the unit price of electricity produced by the panels over the system’s 25 year life is significantly less than the current rate for grid supplied electricity.
David Snape, Commercial Manager at Solarsense, the company responsible for the design and installation of the system said: “The Northacre RRC project is a great example of how solar PV can significantly reduce consumption and deliver long-term cost savings for industrial processes. As the developer of the largest single-roof Local Authority owned solar panel installation in the UK, Wiltshire Council is making a very clear long-term commitment to carbon reduction and sustainability, as well as a very sound investment which will benefit the county.”
Mike Webster, group director for Hills Waste Solutions, the company that owns and operates the Northacre RRC under a 25 year contract with Wiltshire Council, said:  “Investing in energy security is an important step and we are pleased to have been involved in the procurement process with the Council. The next step for Hills will be to look at securing more local solutions for the solid recovered fuel (SRF), ideally to generate energy which could be utilised in Wiltshire. At present the SRF is sent to energy from waste facilities in other northern European countries.”
Davide Marro, Head of Sales in Europe at module manufacturer Vikram Solar adds: “We are happy that Vikram Solar modules were chosen for this important project. The high level of R&D, the numerous rigorous inspections and the test procedures that go into the production of our high quality modules will guarantee that the plant reliably generates efficient and sustainable power.”
*The benefits from the system assume a three percent annual increase in the RPI and a five percent annual increase in electricity prices. Total energy generated from the system by year 20 is expected to be 5,143,118 kWh with a total benefit of £1,522,243.
About Solarsense
With over 20 years’ experience and 10,000 installations to our name, Solarsense are the South West’s leading renewable installer. Working across the commercial, public sector, residential new-build and agricultural sectors, our clients include Willmott Dixon, the National Composites Centre, Bristol City Council, Glastonbury Festival and the Duchy of Cornwall.
About Vikram Solar
The module manufacturer Vikram Solar is headquartered in Kolkata, India, with subsidiaries in Europe and Africa. The company is part of the Vikram Group. The production facilities, which boast an installed production capacity of 150 MW, are located in the Special Economic Zone of Falta in West Bengal. Here, Vikram Solar has been manufacturing mono- and polycrystalline modules ranging from 5 Wp to 300 Wp since 2009. The company also offers a comprehensive selection of services, ranging from project development to the installation and maintenance of solar power plants.