Winners 2015

Energy Storage

SAFT Intensium range

Solar Initiative

Integrated Solution

EPC Excellence

Solarcentury

Innovation in PV Technology

BMSolar

Blackmagic

BOS Installation Tool

Hill & Smith

SolarKIT

Installer of the Year

BIPV Innovation of the Year

Romag

Intecto integrated PV roof tile

BIPV Innovation of the Year Award

Romag


Intecto integrated PV roof tile

Romag’s new integrated PV roof tile is a ground-breaking new concept in building integrated PV combines renewable energy generation with a conventional colour matched tile design to enable the PV cell to blend seamlessly into conventional roofscapes.

The first installation of the Intecto integrated PV tile in the UK has recently been completed by Gentoo Homes in its new housing development at Beechbrooke, in South Shields.
The Intecto PV tiles have been specially designed and manufactured to match the conventional terracotta roof tiles used on the new Beechbrooke houses – ensuring that property aesthetics, design and visual appearance are not compromised by rooftop solar Installations.

The new PV tiles are fitted simply and securely onto wood roofing battens using traditional roofing practices, with a guaranteed fixing system enabling the frameless Intecto units to sit flush with the conventional interlocking tiles.
The special solar roof tiles incorporate the same high quality PV cells used in Romag’s existing range of PV products, enabling the new system to provide the same weatherproofing and protection measures provided by traditional tiles, but with the added benefit of renewable energy generation.

At Gentoo’s Beechbrooke development, specific sections of the roof area incorporate Intecto PV tiles, but the system can be used to provide a whole roof PV solution if required.

Barry Walker, Managing Director of Gentoo Homes, said: “We are always striving to be innovative and deliver higher environmental standards across our developments.

“Our customers have been asking whether solar can be incorporated into our housing designs as they recognise the value of renewable energy and the financial benefits the technology can deliver.

“We are therefore delighted to be the first to install Romag’s innovative Intecto system in the UK. It clearly demonstrates that the aesthetics of solar are improving and I’m confident that our customers will be amazed by this new system.” Intecto solar tiles have been developed to enable architects, housebuilders and roofing contractors to provide an effective rooftop PV solution with a conventional appearance without any compromise in solar power production. They are also appropriate for use in heritage and green-belt areas, where the requirement is for rooftop solar PV systems that maintain the integrity of individual buildings and their local environment.

Available in black, grey and terracotta colours, the new range is fully IEC and MCS certified and complies with other international and European building industry regulations and roofing performance standards.

Romag is a leading UK bespoke glass and solar manufacturing company has been a pioneer in the development of building integrated photovoltaic solutions. The company’s broad range of BIPV products includes skylights, facades, windows, curtain walling, brise soleil, parking canopies, covered walkways and roof lights.

Judges comment:
While more people every day are adding photovoltaic panels to new or existing homes, not everyone with the interest can actually go solar, frequently due to aesthetic considerations or restrictive codes in historic areas that limit material choices. Romag and its Intecto integrated PV roof provide high efficiency cells that are colour matched to blend seamlessly with conventional roofscapes, like those built into Gentoo Homes’ Beechbrooke development in South Shields.

BOS Installation Tool Award

Hill & Smith

SolarKIT

Hill & Smith Solar is a specialist in the design, manufacture, and supply of bespoke PV ground mount systems for large-scale solar park installations.

Hill & Smith Solar announced the newly engineered mounting system to support the small-scale market in April 2015. SolarKIT, is a ground mount system tailored to small-scale solar projects of between 3kW and 1MW in size.

The SolarKIT is a standardised system and has been specifically designed to simplify the installation of smaller projects. It is the first panel slide-in system available as a kit and it is quick and easy to assemble. The SolarKIT has been created to provide customers with flexibility of panel orientation and tilt angle. Panels are simply slid into the rail which makes installation particularly quick and easy.

Judges comment:
Installing solar modules is work for experienced professionals, but even the pro’s need to save time and hours bringing a project to full generating capacity. Hill & Smith, known for their work with grid-scale PV ground mount systems, has heeded the call by developing its SolarKit ground mount product: the first slide-in kit system for 3kW to 1MW installations.

Energy Storage Award

SAFT Intensium range

Energy storage that can help smooth the peaks and troughs of renewable energy output is a vital element in the design of electrical networks and Saft has just the range of battery solutions to provide the reliability and life required with the Intensium range. Intensium Max for PV plants and Intensium Home for residential installations.

Intensium® Max range of containerised lithium-ion (Li-ion) energy storage systems - the Intensium® Max+ 20E that offers 1 MWh of storage capacity in a standard 20-foot container. This outstanding storage capability, in combination with 500 kW continuous discharge power, makes the Intensium® Max+ 20E the ideal solution for industrial level renewable grid integration applications such as smoothing, shaping and shifting as well as peak load management functions including substation peak shaving, management of feeder congestion and load levelling.

Intensium® Home is based on Synerion® 24M modules. This is an integrated energy storage system for residential applications offering compactness, outstanding efficiency and high reliability over thousands of cycles. It makes PV energy available when needed which allows to maximize self-consumption, ensure non-stop energy supply (with a reserve of stored energy) and to increase the value of the renewable energy. Finally, Intensium® Home also improves integration of renewable energy to the grid.

Judges comment:
Extending the usefulness of renewable energy resources often involves storing power for use during non-generating hours, yet many solutions are bulky and capital intensive. SAFT has stepped forward with its Intensium family of solutions that can utilize its Synerior lithium cells to smooth, shape and shift electrical loads for residential use; their products scale all the way to 20-foot containerized 1 MWh applications.

Large Ground-mount Award

British Solar Renewables

Owls Hatch Solar Farm

British Solar Renewables constructed UK’s largest solar farm providing enough clean energy to power around 12,600 average UK homes. The 49.9 MW Owls Hatch Solar Farm, is set in a well screened site of 212.5 acres near Herne Bay in Kent. The solar power plant was constructed in just eleven weeks, despite the often testing winter weather conditions and logistical challenges of the site. The project also saw BSR’s subsidiary independent connection provider and NERS accredited high voltage specialist Renewable Energy Connections, lead on the design and installation of the UK’s first private 132 kV grid connection.

Judges comment:
The UK’s largest solar farm was brought online by British Solar Renewables on 212.5 acres near Herne Bay in Kent. The 49.9MW Owls Hatch Solar Farm was constructed in just 12 weeks; despite logistics and weather challenges the solar farm now provides enough clean energy to serve around 12,600 typical UK homes.

Innovation in PV Technology Award

BMSolar

Blackmagic

BlackMagic technology was first developed in 2006 by Alessandro Caraglio, an electronic engineer with extensive experience in electronic manufacturing and photovoltaics. BM enables any conventional solar inverters to harvest the maximum power from each solar panel in a string.

The output of a string of panels is normally limited by the current of the lowest performing unit. The use of BM optimisers provides an energy recovery of at least 6% in ideally-designed system, reaching up to 20% in plants affected by age, partial shading, soiling and uneven panel orientation.

BM may be used on both new and pre-installed systems, even targeting just specific sections of a plant that can deliver the best returns once they are optimised. The technology has been predominantly deployed on pre-installed PV plants across Italy, and has seen further refinement and development based on extensive field experience.

When used on new plants, BM technology provides all the advantages of a distributed architecture in photovoltaics at an attractive price-point, therefore delivering a high return on investment. Systems for complex sites may be designed more flexibly, and panel-level Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT) is achieved even in conjunction with lower-cost central inverters.

BlackMagic technology is very simple, reliable and efficient, protected by two patents awarded in 2009 and 2015. Uniquely on the market, it provides energy recovery even at very low levels of panel mismatch, and it activates higher stages of power optimisation only when they are completely “energy positive”.

Besides power optimisation, BlackMagic units now provide the highest level of fire safety for PV plants, including the option to implement a fail-safe system compliant to the strictest Italian and German recommendations developed by Fire authorities.

BlackMagic technology is set to flourish in a maturing international photovoltaic market, where both new and long-term solar assets can now operate optimally, delivering the highest possible returns and safety.

Judges comment:
The power output of a photovoltaic array is typically limited by its lowest performing unit. Thanks to BlackMagic technology developed by BMSOLAR, even conventional inverters can see recovery improvements ranging from 6 percent to 20 percent while also incorporating the latest fail-safe hazard avoidance protocols including stringent Italian and German fire authority regulations.

Solar Initiative

Integrated Solution

In an industry where all other brands offer just one component, Autarco is the world’s first to provides a clear single-brand offering significant benefits, like a cash back kWh guarantee. Every Autarco solar plant comes with a certificate stating how many kWh the system is guaranteed to yield. All systems are continuously monitored and at the end of the guarantee period Autarco evaluate. If the actual kWh output is less than the guaranteed, the difference is paid out to the customer in cash. Due to this industry first guarantee, Autarco has a continuing stake in the performance of your solar power system. Autarco will actively analyse your system’s performance, and will take initiative in taking necessary measures in case your electricity output is lagging behind. With a cash back kWh output guarantee, Autarco take away all the risk for end users.

No other component brand currently can guarantee yield if other parts of the installation are from other component brands. With Autarco, you choose one solar solution. One brand. One integrated design. One material warranty. One kWh guarantee. One customer service. One safe investment.

Autarco solutions are sold through retailers and distributors who Autarco help differentiate themselves from their competitors. The benefits for partners are easy-to-sell unique single-brand proposition, flexible and cost-saving logistical options, one convenient after-sales service team and online tools for easy system design, quote and project management.

Judges comment:
Autarco's integrated PV packages go the distance to eliminate guesswork and anxiety. Autarco tests and brands package components, which gives them the confidence to offer a rock solid guarantee: if an Autarco system fails to meet promised parameters they pay customers the difference in cash. This is a first class solar initiative.

Installer of the Year

Nottingham-based firm EvoEnergy has been voted the UK’s leading independent solar PV installer by Solar UK* . Founded in May 2007, it specialises in bespoke rooftop solar PV installations to help businesses and homeowners maximise the potential of their roof space for energy generation. Last year, its new installations generated more than 7,500 MWh of clean energy.

EvoEnergy’s extensive client portfolio ranges from SMEs to corporate buildings to educational organisations and includes complex projects such as multi-location and high-level installs located across the UK, with every client requiring a bespoke solution.

The primary aim of EvoEnergy’s installation team is to enable businesses to generate energy on site, whatever its dimensions or capabilities, in line with the DECC’s aim to prioritise commercial rooftop installs. The company’s technical team excels at designing systems which utilise the latest solar technology, positioning EvoEnergy as a market leader for innovation.

In September 2014, EvoEnergy completed the installation of a 50 kWp system consisting of 250 panels on the roof of the £100 million ‘Walkie Talkie’ building in the City of London. At 160 meters, this installation is one of the UK’s highest solar PV arrays and now generates clean energy for the 600,000 sq ft of office space at 20 Fenchurch Street.

A specialist four-man team worked 38 floors up to install the rail-less system, wearing rubber shoes to prevent damage to the glass roof. This install required a series of bespoke engineering practices and logistical solutions, such as the use of four twisting, movable jigs to fix each 200W Suntellite panel to the roof individually, instead of the mid and end clamps that are usually used in commercial installations.

From the heart of the city to the middle of the countryside. In 2014 EvoEnergy was asked by Nottingham City Council to install a 32 kWp system at Hagg Farm, an outdoor education centre in the Peak District. However, the Distribution Network Operator imposed an export limitation meaning a system bigger than 7 kWp would not be approved.

EvoEnergy’s solution was to install an innovative Export Power Controller that uses industrial automation technology to prevent excessive export amounts, allowing the council to install the full 32 kWp system as intended. The PV system installed at Hagg Farm now generates an estimated 25,000 kWh of energy per year, equivalent to a 13-tonne annual saving in CO2, setting a leading example for the next generation.

EvoEnergy’s client base extends across industries, including the car manufacturer BMW, who cut the carbon footprint of its Oxfordshire production plant thanks to a new rooftop array.

It was essential that installation of the 3MWp array, which covers 20,000 square meters, was completed within a short time frame, so EvoEnergy used its longstanding supply chain relationships to source the 11,500 260w solar PV panels in time to begin the install in February and ensure that the first MWp - around 4,000 panels - was operational within just five weeks.

The project was completed three months later, ahead of schedule, and the 3MWp array is now one of the largest roof mounted solar arrays in the UK, generating 2.8 MWh per year and powering 1,000 robots on the car production line. From cars to bananas: A 1.16MWp solar array of 4,500 panels installed by EvoEnergy for MDD Shipping Services Ltd import facility in Portsmouth now powers the handling of 95% of the UK’s bananas. MMD (Shipping Services) Ltd imports more than half a million tonnes of fresh produce each year and chose EvoEnergy to install the array on three of the refrigeration warehouses within its 22-acre site.

Due to the nature of the food import business, it was essential that the install did not disrupt the facility’s 24/7 operation. With more than 18,500 pallets of FMCGs being stored in the building and dozens of forklifts and vehicles moving in and out, its ten-man team worked without scaffolding 15-metres above the ground and used highly skilled rope-access techniques, scissor lifts and demarcation markers to complete the work within six weeks.

EvoEnergy’s portfolio of installs continue to reduce CO2 emissions, while saving its clients thousands of pounds every year on electricity bills and through Government subsidy payments. In addition, the firm’s ‘Green Mile’ campaign ensures the planting of one tree for every 5kWp of PV that is installed by EvoEnergy in 2015.

*Solar UK is a portfolio of magazine, website LinkedIn site and conference which is dedicated to the solar UK supply chain since 2010.

Judges comment:
While every solar panel installation has its challenges, EvoEnergy (Nottingham,) specializes in bespoke rooftop installations that set new standards for height, complexity and timeliness. From placing 250 panels 160 meters above street level atop London’s new ‘Walkie Talkie’ building, to balancing tricky export requirements with client objectives, to installing the UK’s largest roof mounted solar arrays at BMW’s Oxfordshire plant, EvoEnergy keeps setting records for size, scale, logistical excellence and customer satisfaction.

EPC Excellence

Solarcentury

Judges comment:
Solarcentury has been a leader in residential, commercial and community-based solar installations since the industry’ earliest days, delivering the expertise and long-term commitment that customers large and small have come to rely upon for cost-effectiveness and reliability. From development to design and financing as well as long-term operational and maintenance requirements, Solarcentury is a first class provider across the UK.

R&D

Dr. Patrick Isherwood, Loughborough University

New transparent conducting oxides for PV cells

Judges comment:
Dr. Isherwood is honoured for his work in creating a new thin film transparent conducting material which is able to achieve increased transmission in the visible to Near Infrared (NIR) wavelength region without compromising its electrical conductivity. The solar industry will benefit from this research that increases photovoltaic device efficiency and reduces cost.

Commercial Rooftop

Lightsource Renewable Energy

Judges comment:
Lightsource Renewable Energy has grown quickly to become one of the UK’s leading solar generator companies with the largest portfolio of commercial-scale PV assets in both ground and roof installations. Their large in-house team specialises in minimizing environmental impacts while providing property owners valuable income and electricity bill reductions while significantly reducing carbon footprints. This first class company has been instrumental in driving the UK to success.