Since the beginning of March, 9 of the solar PV inverters have been generating solar power for on-site use at the Marks & Spencer East Midland Distribution Centre in Castle Donington. Totalling 6.1MW, this photovoltaic array belonging to the British retail chain is the largest solar rooftop in the United Kingdom.
24,272 PV modules are spread across the whole roof area of the East Midland Distribution Centre which measures 460 metres by 170 metres. SBC Renewables (SBC) designed a de-centralised system using 90 KACO new energy Powador 60.0 TL3 and four Powador 18.0 TL3 solar PV inverters. The way that SBC managed to design the installation with the inverters so close to the modules was a work of art.
De-centralised inverter concept with subtle MPP tracking
"We settled on the perfect size 50kVA inverter from KACO new energy as these ticked all the boxes in terms of quality and reliability. They were also an ideal size to lower into the 4x30-metre high roof hatches above the plant rooms. Each has three MPP trackers ideally sized for the proposed layout. The 4-string MPPT's also added shadow tolerance, redundancy and traceability in the event of any string problem", said Dr. Clive Weatherby, Technical Director at SBC.
Self-use on a grand scale
The solar power from this "rooftop solar park" amounts to 6.1MW. This now takes the crown as the largest PV installation on a single rooftop in the United Kingdom. To give an example in terms of figures, the PV array covers the energy supply of 2,000 households.
"We are very pleased to be part of this commitment. I sincerely hope that many more companies will put commercial self-use of solar power on their agendas. In that way we won't need to have long needless discussions about new atomic power stations and their controversial subsidies, such as we are having at the moment with Hinkley Point C", said Ralf Hofmann, CEO of KACO new energy.