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Making the most of the sun in Stirling

A local authority PV solar and storage programme means households are enjoying energy independence while cutting their carbon footprint. 

Stirling Council started its capital investment programme in solar PV and battery storage back in 2011. 

Its key objectives were reducing fuel poverty, improving energy efficiency and reducing the carbon footprint of its housing and commercial stock. 

FES Group has been involved with the project since 2011 as the preferred framework contractor providing installation and maintenance services. 

The programme is now into its fourth phase with more than 1,900 installed systems and a further committed investment of £10 million over the next four years. 

Overcoming challenges

One of the challenges of the project was dealing with a housing portfolio that included properties with small roofs, including tenement blocks and properties located in conservation areas. This was overcome by FES by specifying a market leading product from SunPower that provided a high wattage output panel within a reduced footprint, allowing the smallest properties to achieve the maximum solar PV output possible. 

SunPower solar PV panels were also used in conservation areas, and careful panel and equipment selection allowed systems to appear as part of the building structure, satisfying strict planning requirements. 

Battery Storage

With the ongoing development of renewable energy technologies, FES has been installing Tesla battery storage systems alongside the solar PV systems for Stirling Council. The Tesla battery storage system is a highly beneficial technology that allows tenants to store excess electricity generated from the solar PV rather than exporting it to the grid. This increases the self-consumption of the properties significantly and we have data showing tenants were 99% self-sufficient from the grid at certain points throughout the year using only solar PV and battery storage. 

Stirling Councils Plan

The contract also includes a remote monitoring, planned maintenance and reactive call-out service provided by FES from their in-house 24/7/365 call centre located in Stirling. This service monitors all installed systems to ensure that they are producing to required outputs and that any faults that occur are responded to within the required Service Level Agreements. 

Stirling Councils plan to have 2,600 systems installed by march 2018 and 3,700 systems by march 2019 taking over 60% of their housing stock to have solar PV systems installed.

 

Jason Cross is Managing Director of FES Support Services, a UK-wide electrical installation, building and support services and facilities management company based in Stirling