British Antarctic Survey
In December 2018, EvoEnergy were appointed to erect a solar carport and cycle shelter at the British Antarctic Survey. The client was driven by meeting sustainable development goals, creating a more pleasant, safe place to park, expand and secure their cycling facilities and implement EV charging points to encourage staff uptake of electric vehicles.
EvoEnergy designed and installed 4 Y shaped solar carports, and a solar bike shed, generating 219kWp. The new bike shed has doubled the space available for bicycle storage from 100 to 200 by using a two-tier rack system, with a cycle repair stand and space for bicycle trailers.
Rather than using a traditional string inverter setup, which only performs as well as the least efficient module, the installation uses SolarEdge optimisers connected to pairs of modules which make the whole system safer and more efficient.
Its heartbeat communication system lets individual panels talk directly to the inverters in pairs, so in the event of one panel breaking or losing efficiency, only two from the whole array will be affected; In the event of a fire or broken cable, the inverters make the whole PV system safer by dropping the array voltage from 850v to 21v.
As a result of an optimised system, the inverters are smaller than standard inverters. Their performance can be accessed in real-time online, individual module monitoring allows EvoEnergy to swiftly identify and remedy any issues.
Along with the carports and bike shed, a 7 kW twin column mounted PodPoint EV charger was installed. The design process was complex and tailored to suit the site at British Antarctic Survey. The system and EV charger were fitted over two months. To improve security in the carpark and optimise traffic flow, entry and exit barriers were installed with an intercom system. Pathways were improved and adjusted to a new layout to improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists. Careful management of the carpark was required throughout the construction of the site to maintain the usability of parts of the carpark and ensure safety for all, both contractors public, and users. Useable space was limited, for storage, leading to staged deliveries of steelwork, solar panels and inverters.
The array, stretching over 96 car parking spaces, should cut the site’s carbon footprint by over 90.6 Tonnes per year as well as contributing towards the BAS environmental objective, and encouraging alternative travel methods (EV & Bike). The carpark was originally planted with shrubs and flowers in beds around car parking spaces. They were removed temporarily to allow construction of the carport, with the intention of reinstating the vegetation after the construction to retain biodiversity.
The project was finished in May 2019 and has been operating successfully since.
Parthena Exizidou, British Antarctic Survey’s Energy & Carbon Manager, said:
“The design and development of the solar carports at BAS Cambridge is an exciting and innovative project that is increasing renewable energy generation to BAS energy mix and has had a significant impact on our carbon footprint reduction. The process from designing to installation has been managed with detail and imagination. The aesthetics have been carefully considered and there has been many positive comments.”
Photo Credit: Pete Bucktrout/Will Clark (British Antarctic Survey)