Cambridge University’s sports centre powered by 78.75kWp solar array

Cambridge University has invested in a 78.75kWp solar array to help power its new sports centre.

The unique solar array curves on two axes in order accommodate complex shading and light levels that are a result of the centre's domed zinc roof.

The solar array was fitted by solar installer Ecolution, who had to fit each of the PV modules at a different orientation and pitch.

The company says that the use of an innovative mounting system and power optimisers, resulted in the PV array being installed in just four weeks. The project is estimated to generate 71.8MWh annually, negating the emission of 37,409kg of CO2every year.

Paul Squire, Ecolution’s designer on the project, said: “This was an extremely complex design, and accuracy has been essential throughout – from the individually optimised modules to the building’s BMS connection. It has been a challenging installation as the roof has very sharp falls, plus the specialist zinc covering needs protecting during installation. The CO2 offset targets were challenging and much time was spent designing and demonstrating the system to achieve the BREEAM Very Good standard.”

Chris Bratherton, group sales manager, Ecolution added: “The installation on the sports centre’s curved Rheinzink standing seam roof was complex as the roof falls in multiple directions, which gave each module installed a unique orientation and pitch – with a conventional system this would affect performance and yield.”

Professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz, vice chancellor, University of Cambridge said that the solar array formed part of the university's wider commitment to a low carbon future and that the wider £1 billion development in North West Cambridge would be one of the most sustainable developments of its scale in the UK.

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This article has been adapted from an article published in Solar Power Portal.