Ecolution helps save over 10% in energy costs for two West Midland’s hospitals

Published: 18-Jun-2014

Solihull and Heartlands hospitals on track to save more than £2m over the next 20 years

Ecolution has installed solar PV panels for the Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust (HEFT) at Solihull and Heartlands hospitals.

The work was completed in less than six months and is predicted to deliver over £2m from energy savings and Feed-in-Tariff payments (FIT) over the next 20 years.

Main contractors for the project, MITIE Facilities Management, worked with HEFT to adhere to MITIE’s CarbonCare service. This guidance was offered to HEFT as a way of saving energy, cutting costs and reducing its carbon footprint. Ecolution’s experts had suggested further possible savings from the installation; initially HEFT requested over 250kWp for each hospital, however, Ecolution advised that such installations would drop FIT levels by 35%, therefore only 250KWp on each hospital should be installed.

Tier 1, black-framed Hyundai 250Wp poly-crystalline solar modules were used for the entirety of the hospitals. The 2,000 panels were installed onto 28 roofs of varying pitch, orientation, height and covering. These were then paired with Goodwe inverters which were chosen for their excellent reliability.

This project was completed on time, on budget and without any complications, despite the high level of technical detail required on this project

Pete Sellars, director of estates, was delighted that the £3m project could be completed without any closures of wards or disruption to critical services.

In addition, accommodation of the electricity supply back-up generators, which are a vital lifeline when there is an electricity malfunction, presented an extra challenge. If the PV arrays ever produced more than the electricity load on the generator, the following back feed into the generator would cause a rise in voltage, which would prevent it from engaging. The generator would also feed the supply with the PV system causing potential damage to the PV array and generating equipment.

To negate this potentially life-threatening problem, Ecolution designed a bespoke solution by connecting a radio frequency module into a relay that provided Ecolution with a radio signal whenever the generator was about to engage.

The PV distribution board contactor then receives a signal to stop sending the electricity supply to the PV system, ensuring that the generators and PV systems do not operate simultaneously.

With HEFT spending over £1m a year on energy, this installation will be saving them over 10% on their current expenditure, with the benefit expected to rise even further as electricity prices rise in due course.

Robert Harley, business development manager for Ecolution, said: “This project was completed on time, on budget and without any complications, despite the high level of technical detail required on this project. Throughout, Ecolution continually listened to the needs and concerns of NHS and MITIE employees and adapted our working practices to accommodate their requirements without moving away from the initial brief that we were given”.

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