Stepnell’s a new business park which makes use of our innovative Smart Grid technology, harmonising all of their technology under one system.
K e y S t a t s
70,000kg CO2 saved per year
816 Trina Polycrystalline 270W
Stepnell Park in Warwickshire is a development of new commercial and industrial units ranging in size from approximately 5,000 to 26,000 sq ft. The business park was developed and built by our parent company, who tasked our engineering team with installing a Smart Grid to help the site manage their energy generation and usage.
A Smart Grid is a system that combines multiple renewable energy technologies such as solar PV, battery storage systems, HV/LV infrastructure and electric vehicle charging points to create a single system across the whole site. At Stepnell Park, the innovative Smart Grid significantly changed the way in which electricity is now distributed within the development.
Traditionally, the developer would pay the electricity company a significant sum of money to install the electrical infrastructure, which would then allow the electrical company to operate and benefit from charges it could levy against the business tenants within the development. However, at Stepnell Park the private wire network sees Stepnell retain this investment and allows them to operate and benefit in a similar manner to the electrical company.
Rather than the energy supplier being the direct supplier of electricity to the unit, Stepnell positions themselves in between. As part of the smart grid, Stepnell owns the network from Western Power substation all the way to the mains incomer of each unit. Stepnell are then responsible for the delivery of electricity from this substation to the end user which in this case is the individual units on this site.
Configuring the large business park site in order to achieve this was a new challenge for us. But it provided an opportunity for our engineering team to bring together all of the knowledge and experiences that we’ve accumulated over years, and showcase it on this project.
At Stepnell Park, we worked alongside Stepnell during the construction of phase one to install the electrical infrastructure to supply electricity for the entire development. This installation consists of an 11 kV transformer close coupled with an LV switch board. The transformer is fed from the HV substation, which forms a ring to supply phase two and three and provide redundancy to the site in the event of any faults. The HV substation is fed from the DNO substation, which is where Stepnell’s responsibilities for the infrastructure ends.
Electricity is supplied to each unit’s landlord distribution board from the close coupled distribution board. The landlord’s distribution board then feeds the tenants distribution board and ultimately this is where the tenant gets billed. Furthermore, the landlord’s distribution board has the potential for more renewable technologies to be added on in the future, such as more Solar PV, Electrical Vehicle charging points and Battery Energy Storage Systems.
Although Solar PV is currently only installed units three and four, due to the Smart Grid, all units benefit from the electricity generated and the carbon savings, too. The 220 kWp rooftop solar array consisted of 816 Trina 270W Polycrystalline panels complimented by Fronius inverters.
The Smart Grid not only helps Stepnell to develop a reliable source of income and retain more control from the grid, but it also allows them to reduce their impact on the environment. An example of this can be seen in the battery storage system, as the energy that is stored in the battery allows for the energy load to be shifted from peak to off-peak periods, reducing peak demand. This puts less strain on the grid during peak times as the energy demand is fulfilled from multiple different sources.
Since completion, we have developed a monitoring platform for Stepnell, the tenants and the visitors at the units displayed inside the buildings, for them to see where their energy is coming from. This could be from the Grid, Solar PV or Battery Energy Storage.
This monitoring platform will also show when the site is exporting back to the Grid. However, in the future, the installation of more EV chargers and Battery Storage will see less energy being transported back into the grid as the site makes use of more use of the generated energy. This allows for more accurate monitoring of energy usage around the site, improving the visibility in the distribution and source of power.
The Smart Grid means a consistent supply of power is delivered to the site and the tenants. With the addition of batteries in the future, power outages and power disruptions can be mitigated against. This will contribute towards the achievement of a carbon neutral status, exceeding government targets.
The Smart Grid also has the capacity for EV charging points and large batteries to be installed at a later date. This provides an opportunity for more providers to get involved with the development of this project in the future, which could create more contract and employment opportunities for people in the industry.
Award Winning Project
Our Smart Grid installation at Stepnell Park was named ‘Commercial Building Of The Year’ at the The Energy Awards 2021.
“The Stepnell Park project was described as a well thought-out project that was well executed – and clearly shows how future developments could be designed to maximise renewable energy and provide high quality energy management systems.”