Rooftop solar

Ireland’s largest rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) array has been unveiled at a manufacturing plant in Portadown, Co. Armagh.

The 1.3 MW installation is set to generate 1.1 GW of electricity per year, enough to meet 30% of the site’s daytime annual energy demand.

Kingspan Energy, provider of fully-funded solar energy solutions for commercial and industrial buildings, designed and installed the system in Northern Ireland for Kingspan Environmental, a separate division of Kingspan Group. The site comprises the company’s head office and principal manufacturing facility, where it makes solar thermal water heating panels, as well as other environmental products.
Rooftop solar
Gilbert McCarthy, Managing Director of Kingspan Insulated Panels told Specification Online, “There has never been a better time for businesses to benefit from renewable generation that makes the most of an otherwise unused asset – their roofs – especially with the removal of the capital cost barrier from the equation.”

The system was installed under a fully-funded model, with Kingspan Environmental bearing no capital cost. In return for this investment, the company will purchase the electricity generated by the PV array at a reduced rate compared with current grid-based prices. Future price rises will be index-linked to limit them to inflation under this arrangement.

A new, highly energy-efficient insulated panel roof was installed on the building to improve its thermal performance, with the rooftop solar PV system mounted on top.

The refurbishment and PV installation were specified to help Kingspan Environmental meet ambitious energy targets. All divisions within the Kingspan Group have committed to achieving Net-Zero Energy – where they consume as much energy as they generate over the course of a year – by 2020. The Group has an interim goal of ensuring 50% of its energy demand is met by renewables by 2016, and so has refurbished and installed rooftop solar PV panels at a number of its sites across the UK and Ireland.

The installation consists of 4,844 modules in total, covering 18,000m2 of the building’s roof. It took approximately 12 weeks to install.