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Solar Kingdom Shows Solar Still Pays

Spectacular Roof-integrated Installation Provides Excellent Financial Returns

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Award winning Scottish installer Solar kingdom Ltd has just completed its biggest ever roof integrated system, a single roof with sixty panels, or 15kWp, and Managing Director, Peter Randall thinks it's a way forward for solar in the world of low Feed in Tariffs:

"Not only has roof integration provided a visually stunning outcome, enhancing the aesthetics of the building, the financial case is also compelling. By fitting the solar panels instead of new tiles, the roofing labour became cost neutral, at the same time saving over a thousand pounds in roof tile costs. Scaffolding was also in place avoiding yet further outlay. Coupling this with the installation savings from the new Clearline Fusion system we selected from Viridian Solar radically reduced the total cost of the project compared to a conventional retrofit."

The high level of electricity use across the site means self-consumption of generated power will also be very high. Export to the grid is expected to be less than ten percent of total generation leading to a fifteen percent reduction in purchase of grid electricity. Even with the much reduced Feed In Tariff, the combination of cost effective installation, savings on energy bills, and Feed In Tariff revenue means likely payback will be around seven years with a return on investment well into double digits.

The project was undertaken for Fife entrepreneur Craig Muir at Strathore Business Park, near Kirkaldy. The Strathore Plant Hire main office building was to be re-roofed as part of a major refurbishment, and the company realised this was an opportunity to consider a solar installation. For Solar Kingdom it was an ideal project for the new Viridian Solar Fusion system.

"Working with a roofer who had no previous experience of fitting the system, installation was completed in just two days," explained Peter Randall "the system is designed in such a way as to be familiar to any competent roofer. Working alongside them for just six panels gave all the instruction necessary."

System design allows connection under the Electricity Networks Association Recommendation G83/3. This facilitates connection of up to 16 amps per phase without prior consent from the Distribution Network Operator. Notification is made on completion of works. Whilst it may have been possible to physically install a larger system on the roof, several factors would need to be taken into consideration. Any such system would exceed the 16amps per phase limit and require a G59/2 permission to connect from the DNO. There are lead times and costs involved in both the preparation and granting of this.

To achieve installation of a larger array a different installation system and panels in landscape format (long side of panel top and bottom) would have been required. However, without the inclusion of a fire retardant membrane between the roof surface and array, it is possible that other available mounting systems using this format would not meet the necessary fire rating. Incorporating this would this have involved considerable additional time and expense. Taking such measures would be necessary to meet the Microgeneration Certification Scheme product certification standard 012 for pitched roof installation, which becomes mandatory on 2nd May 2016. The Viridian system used is already fully compliant with all requirements without such interventions due to its design and chosen materials.

Of equal importance but from a design perspective, a larger array would 'crowd' the available roof space. This would have detracted from the aesthetic of a well proportioned and well installed array.

For Craig, as well as being a great business investment, it also provides impetus for the carbon reduction programme the Strathore Group are planning. More client groups are taking interest in what mitigation measures businesses are taking and something as visible as this provides a daily reminder of that necessary journey.

For Solar Kingdom it provides confirmation that by adjusting to new market conditions opportunities exist to undertake exciting projects for well-informed clients. "Being small we already have the advantage of tightly contained operating costs. We are able to reflect these in flexibility of approach and value for money solutions. This project demonstrates the positive outcomes we are able to provide to our clients".

Key Statistics:
Installer: Solar Kingdom Ltd
Client: Strathore Plant Hire Ltd
Building type: Office
Site Annual Electricity Use: 80000 kWh/year
System size: 15kWp
Anticipated Annual Energy Yield : 13500 kWh/year


Solar Kingdom Ltd – Award Winning Solar
25 Oxgangs Road
EH10 7BE

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