rooftop solar array
Rooftop Solar Array at the Port of Hull. Credit: Curtis Creative - FIMER

The UK’s largest commercial rooftop solar system has been unveiled on the English northeast coast at the Port of Hull.

The 6.5MW array at the port, which is owned and operated by Associated British Ports (ABP), is a collaboration between solar company FIMER and Custom Solar UK.

The array of 21,000 solar panels covers the port’s warehouse roofs and spans 34,980 square meters and more than doubles ABP Humber Ports’ renewable energy generation.

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The £6.8 million ($9 million) investment is expected to save ABP 2600 tonnes of CO2 per annum, which equates to the energy needs of 1450 average UK homes.

The iconic project involved two years of planning prior to construction starting in October 2019 and was completed in August. It marks FIMER’s first major rooftop solar development in the UK.

FIMER chairman Filippo Carzaniga said the company was “delighted to be supporting this new era for solar energy in the UK. This was a ground-breaking project, which is our largest installation of its kind in the country. It demonstrates how powerful solar power can be and, we are proud to have worked closely with Custom Solar and ABP to make this vision a reality.”

Custom Solar inverters

FIMER teamed up with the UK’s largest solar developer, Custom Solar to install 49 PVS-100-TL 100 kW inverters and 3 PVS-50-TL 50 kW inverters to power the rooftop facility.

The solution is ideal for this type of large-scale industrial application where demand for energy fluctuates, and the high power-rating of each inverter means that fewer units are required.

To ensure that the rooftop solar plant delivered the maximum possible energy, a smart energy management approach was essential for this project and FIMER’s built-in Export limitation was utilised.

This innovative form of energy management in the market allows solar plant owners, like ABP, to maximize self-consumption. The inverter’s integrated distributive control algorithm enables operators to be compliant with the export limit set by grid operators and utilities, without the need for additional controllers or devices.

Matt Brailsford, managing director at Custom Solar, added: “The project was in planning for nearly two years before beginning construction, due to the sheer complexity of the system we delivered. With carbon reduction, CSR and keen financial savings on the agenda of all large corporations during such a challenging time, we see solar as the perfect fit.”