Ken Martin Leisure Centre
Ken Martin Leisure Centre is an exercise facility located in Nottingham. The site was chosen as part of the city council’s investment in renewable energy technology.
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Co2 saved per year
Leisure centre’s are notorious for their high energy demands. The sheer amount of equipment and facilities that the site needs to keep operational places a huge amount of stress on the national grid, and often leads to high electricity costs. This, in combination with the large amount of available space over their car park, meant it made sense for the location to be chosen as part of the local council’s sustainability scheme.
Following the successful solar carport installation for Nottingham City Council at their Harvey Hadden Sports Village, the Council partnered with us again to install an even larger installation at their Ken Martin Leisure Centre. The 354-panel, 88.5 kWp system was designed and installed by us across nine separate, specially-built roofs at the popular leisure centre in Bulwell, Nottingham. At the time of install, it was the latest energy-efficiency measure to be taken by the Council, helping them move one step closer to achieving their target of reducing the city’s carbon emissions by 26% by the year 2020.
The Ken Martin solar carport was fitted over three months between November and January in time to beat the cut to the feed-in tariff (FiT). It will save the council around £10,000 a year on its energy bills, and should pay for itself within 11 years, after which point it will earn Nottingham City Council an income for the remaining nine years of the FiT.
Rather than using a traditional string setup, which only performs as well as the least efficient module, it uses SolarEdge optimisers connected to pairs of modules to make the whole system safer and more efficient.
Its heartbeat communication system lets individual panels talk directly to the inverter in pairs, so in the event of one panel breaking or losing efficiency during the next two decades, only two from the whole array will be affected; individual module monitoring will also allow our engineers to swiftly remedy any issues.
Given the nature of the install – over a frequently-used carpark outside a popular public building – we took extra steps in order to minimise disruption. Ropes and scissor lifts were used to avoid any danger to the public during the panel fitting process, while the install was completed in staggered phases to keep as many car parking spaces open as possible.
As a result of an optimised system the inverters are half the size of standard inverters. Their performance can be accessed in real-time online, and they make the whole PV system safer by dropping the power supply from 1,000v to 21v in the event of a fire or broken cable.
To date, we’ve partnered with the council on numerous solar projects, including its first solar carport at Harvey Hadden. This time around we helped them build one of the largest solar carports in the country; an accolade which really highlights the size of the council’s commitment to energy efficiency.
This installation posed a number of challenges to our team on-site, but the team at Ken Martin were extremely happy with the way we worked around their day-to-day operations, causing them as little disruption as possible.
The results have impressed them too, thanks to the work of our technical team, who’ve made sure the latest technology was used to help keep it performing efficiently for the duration of its feed-in tariff.
Councillor Alan Clark, Nottingham City Council’s portfolio holder for energy and sustainability, said:
“The solar carport is an ingenious solution for maximising our assets, generating income and lowering the city’s carbon emissions. Car parks, although serving a practical purpose – and very necessary for our thousands of customers that visit our leisure centres – are not usually seen as cutting edge. It’s really exciting that we have been able to extend the usefulness of this space and invest in a green energy supply for Nottingham.”