Aldi Distribution Centre
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After recently completing the 2.1 MWp solar PV installation on Aldi’s distribution centre in Bolton, EvoEnergy were invited to tender for the work to install a 1.5 MWp array on the next distribution site to be built in Cardiff.
Demonstrating once again exceptional ability, design and innovation – that also helped win the Bolton project – EvoEnergy were awarded the work by DSP Construction Management (the contractors building the new site) with work starting in January 2016 for completion in April.
EvoEnergy proposed that the array would be subsidised through the Renewables Obligation (RO) scheme instead of the feed-in tariff as it attracted a bigger income and gave the client a better rate of return. However, in December 2015 the Government confirmed that RO support would be abolished for new installations registered after the 31st March; the feed-in tariff would also suffer heavy cuts much sooner.
It was therefore agreed that EvoEnergy could start onsite sooner than planned to install the array before this deadline and qualify for the pre-determined RO subsidy. Being on site earlier, however, presented unplanned challenges to EvoEnergy’s installation team as much of the site was still under development, particularly access roads which made panel deliveries difficult.
Nevertheless, EvoEnergy’s 14-man team overcame the logistical challenges and installed the 1.5MWp array on the single pitched roof that consisted of 5,884 Renesola 255W panels and 43 Fronius inverters; housed in their own purpose-built plant room. Two weather stations and an export limitation device were also incorporated into the design.
Battling against unfavourable conditions, the array was completed on the 31st March – one day before the RO support deadline – and allowed the client to receive the higher rate of subsidy.
The ongoing construction of the 42,200 square metre facility will be completed in the Summer with the site being handed over to the UK’s discount supermarket chain in November 2016. It is the third new distribution site that Aldi have built in the last two years as part of their major expansions plans in the UK; the second site out of the three that EvoEnergy have also installed on.
Although the site’s footprint is around 10,000 square metres less than the previous build at Bolton, the construction design is very similar. The PV installation is also of a similar design though the orientation of the Cardiff site was favourable to install all of the panels facing south-east.
The system is expected to produce 1,398 MWh every year – a significant contribution to the site’s heavy consumption – which will also reduce Aldi’s energy costs. This self-generation will also reduce their carbon footprint by an impressive 641 tonnes per year.