Britain’s largest gas distribution network goes solar


Cadent, Britain’s largest gas distribution network, has blazed a green trail with the launch of its first-ever solar array.

Located at an existing Cadent site in Brisley, North Norfolk, the solar farm comprises 388 solar panels and will help deliver savings on both carbon emissions and business costs.

Though it may not be the Mojave Desert the climate of North Norfolk is well suited to solar generation, as the PV panels don’t need direct sunlight to work and can still generate electricity on a cloudy day.

In addition to the significant environmental benefits, Cadent will also be saving on energy costs for the site.

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The panels have a peak generation capacity of 130 kW and the site will generate an estimated 120 MWh per year. That will be enough electricity for the site and nine other above-ground Cadent installations in the region. Any surplus electricity generated on top of that will enable additional revenue to be produced for the business.

Electricity generated at the new array will be fed into the local electricity distribution network, providing a clean and renewable source of energy for local homes, schools, businesses and community facilities.

Each panel has an operational lifespan of 25 years and special power optimisers which keep the array generating as efficiently as possible have also been installed. The rectifiers enable any problems with a panel to be swiftly identified and repaired without impairing system efficiency.

Cadent Network Supervisor, Robert Davies, came up with the concept and further developed the idea with his team, who operate and maintain Cadent’s gas infrastructure in the local area.

Davies explained: “The concept was relatively straightforward with clear cut environmental and economic benefits. It took us around a year to plan and agree on the project and we were then able to get it built over just a few weeks this autumn.”

Cadent director of East Network, Darren Elsom said: “As a company, Cadent is committed to being innovative, efficient and to making a positive contribution to the environment.
This project is a textbook example of how we can do all of those things and achieve a great result.”

With the Brisley Solar Array already proving to be a resounding success, similar projects at other Cadent sites could follow in the near future.

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