University of Cambridge
When the University of Cambridge invited installers to tender for their recent solar PV installation,the brief required a finished array that was innovative, attractive and vandalism resistant.
EvoEnergy won the project by proposing an innovative, creative PV system with a difference – custom fabricated ‘solar trees’ installed in a car park adjacent to the University’s library. Together, the four structures would house a 4.64 kWp array made up of 16 panels to offset the library’s CO2 emissions by 10 per cent a year.
As with any ground mounted system, planning permission was required before work could commence, so the trees were deliberately set away from the public roads to minimise impact.
Concrete foundations were laid down, into which the frames were fixed into place. The panels were then lifted by cranes and secured on to mountings which, thanks to pre-installation testing, were made sufficiently strong enough in the welds and fixing points to hold the frame together.
Each of the four finished ‘solar trees’ is made up of four 290 Wp panels which generate 1.14 kWp combined. Custom built, the panels are positioned at the optimum south-facing orientation and 30-degree angle, while SMA Sunny Boy inverters mean the system runs in parallel loops with a Sunny Webbox to measure hourly output.
Up and running within 12 weeks, the system now generates 3,868 kWh per year and has cut the University’s carbon footprint by two tonnes.